Those who left us in 2022
The veteran broadcaster and theatre legend died at the University Hospital of the West Indies May 11. She was 87.
She wrote the radio drama Wrong Move, which aired on Radio Jamaica, and hosted that station’s mid-morning talk show Hotline for many years.
Between 1969 and 2017 Gloudon penned at least 29 of the Little Theatre Movement’s annual pantomimes, among them Moonshine Anancy, Hail Columbus, Johnny Reggae, The Pirate Princess, and Dapper Dan.
Gloudon was conferred with the Order of Distinction for her contribution to journalism in 1975 and the Order of Jamaica in 1992.
Renowned singer Jimmy Tucker passed away peacefully at his home in Fayetteville, Georgia, on May 24. He was 80 years old.
One of Jamaica’s early child stars, he became a household name performing patriotic songs which instilled national pride.
Tucker emerged in the 1940s from Trench Town in Kingston from a talented family. He is uncle of former child star-turned-preacher Junior Tucker, singer Sharon Tucker, and Marlon Tucker â€” Jamaica’s most successful cricket captain.
During the 1950s Jimmy Tucker performed in clubs, schools and churches. During that period also he performed music written by Clyde Hoyte, including Have Faith and Sweet as a Dream.
Dr Audley Betton
Dr Audley “Knapp” Betton, former member of vocal quartet Casual T, died at his St Andrew home on May 27. The 73-year-old physician had been ailing for some time.
He entered The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, to do medicine in 1973. Betton also had a passion for music.
It was at The UWI that he met Drs Charlie Roberts, Lennie Miller, and Richard Kirkwood, who became his colleagues in Casual T which formed in 1979. The following year they had a big hit with Let’s Hold On, a soul ballad co-produced by them and Ibo Cooper, keyboardist for Third World.
The quartet recorded two albums, including Prescription For Love which had Rita Marley as executive producer.
Mona Hammond, one of the first black actors to make a mark on British television, died in London on July 4 at age 91.
Hammond, who was from Clarendon, was a fixture on British television and in theatre for over 50 years. She appeared as Blossom Jackson in EastEnders, the long-running soap opera from 1994 to 1997.
Prior to that role, she played Susu in Desmond’s, a half-hour sitcom based on a West Indian barber shop in London that ran for four years starting in 1990.
Trevor Naire, who directed the lion’s share of plays mounted by production house Jambiz International, died on May 6. He was 73.
Jambiz International’s combination of Nairne as director and Patrick Brown as writer produced hits such as Saving Alligator High, Ladies of The Night, Right Girl Wrong Address, and Straight Jacket. Nairne also directed Friends, Oliver And Pinocchio, and Breadfruit Kingdom.
Martin Williams, a member of 1967 Jamaica Festival Song Competition winners The Jamaicans, died May 24 in New York City at age 85.
Williams was a founding member of that group, which was initially known as The Mericoles. The original line-up formed in 1964 and comprised Errol Kong (later known as I Kong), Norris Weir and Keith Brown; Tommy Cowan joined later.
Prior to The Mericoles/The Jamaicans, the Matthews Lane-raised Williams performed in the duo Martin and Derrick. Their songs included Times Are Going.
The dancehall deejay was found dead in a guest house on Walker’s Avenue, off Beechwood Avenue, in Kingston on July 19.
Merciless, whose given name was Leonard Bartley, hailed from Chapleton in Clarendon. He made his recording debut in 1994 with Lend Out Mi Mercy, then shot to fame thanks to Mavis, Gal Dem Gizzada and Mama Cooking.
He was renowned for several clashes, the most famous being against Ninjaman, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man at Sting 2000 at Jamworld Entertainment Complex in St Catherine.
The prolific bass guitarist who played on multiple Grammy-winning albums and numerous hit songs died in South Florida on July 27. He was in his mid-50s.
Meredith was a member of the Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers and Stephen Marley bands for many years.
He played on the former’s Conscious Party and One Bright Day albums, which won Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album in 1989 and 1990, respectively. He also played on Burning Spear’s Calling Rastafari which won the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2000 and Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which won five Grammys in 1999.
One of the artistes associated with Studio One in its early years, Sibley died on July 30 at his home in St Andrew. He was 74 years old.
In several interviews Sibley recalled how he helped in the construction of Studio One, reggae’s most famous label, starting in 1962. It is also where he recorded his first songs, Things Are Not Right and Gunman, during the mid-1960s.
The actor who played Detective Ray Jones in The Harder They Come died in St Andrew on August 23 at age 81.
Stona also appeared in the movies Cool Runnings (as Barrington Coolidge) and One Love (as Pastor Johnson).
He was a successful businessman who co-founded and operated Busha Browne, a leading manufacturer of spice products.
Cecil “Skelly” Spence
The co-founder of roots-reggae group Israel Vibration died August 26 at Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, New York as he succumbed to lung cancer at age 69.
Spence and Lascelle “Wiss” Bulgin, his colleague in Israel Vibration, closed an 11-date tour of the United States West Coast in March with the Roots Radics Band. Albert “Apple” Craig, the other original member of Israel Vibration, died in 2020.
Spence, Bulgin, and Craig met as polio patients at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre in St Andrew during the late 1950s. They first came to prominence in 1978 with The Same Song, a single produced by Tommy Cowan calling for unity among the Rasta houses.
Francois St Juste
Broadcaster Francois St Juste died at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew on August 29.
St Juste served as the general manager for the radio division of the RJR Group. He was one of the original announcers at Capitol Radio which became Fame FM.
Musician and former member of The Browne Bunch, Noel Browne died from a heart attack at his home in the United Kingdom on September 17. He was 64.
Noel Browne was instrumental in the establishment of singer Freddie McGregor’s Big Ship Studio. He also worked with Dennis Brown and Glen Washington.
Sheridan, who covered the reggae beat for Billboard Magazine for several years and had a hit song with Two White Girls Pon A Minibus, was 81 when she died on November 14.
Though considered Canadian, Sheridan was reportedly born in the United Kingdom. She lived for many years in Ocho Rios and worked as a singer-producer, with her best-known music venture being Two White Girls Pon A Mini Bus.
A member of rocksteady group The Conquerors, Campbell died on November 30 in his hometown of Troja, St Catherine. He was 78.
The Conquerors trio, which recorded mainly for producers Sonia Pottinger and Duke Reid, is best known for the hit songs Won’t You Come Home and Lonely Street.
Eupert “Ras Kidus” McFarlane, a stalwart of San Francisco’s reggae scene for 40 years, died in that city on November 27 at age 74.
The Kingston-born singer-drummer was a member of Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus’s touring band which went to the San Francisco Bay area in 1980. He laid down roots there and started the Roots Connection Band two years later.
The veteran broadcaster died at his Constant Spring, St Andrew, home on December 11. He was 70.
A staple on Jamaican radio for more than three decades, he hosted The Evening People Show and the traffic-driven Roving Report on RJR FM.
Joseph “Jo Mersa” Marley, son of Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob Marley, died on December 27 of a reported asthma attack. The 31-year-old singer was found unresponsive in his car at an undisclosed location in the United States.
Jo Mersa was known for songs such as Burn it Down, Made It, and No Way Out.