Bob Andy, dead at 75Saturday, March 28, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
ARGUABLY one of reggae's most prolific songwriters, Bob Andy passed away peacefully at his St Andrew residence yesterday. The singer, who was battling cancer, was 75 years old.
Singer Marcia Griffiths, who recorded several of Bob Andy-penned songs, confirmed his death.
“Yes. It's true. Andy died this [yesterday] morning at 8:00 am,” a tearful Griffiths told the Jamaica Observer from her Florida base yesterday.
“Mi talk to him every day... Up to yesterday, I did a video call with him,” she continued.
Griffiths said she is heartbroken as she promised the singer she would have visited him.
“Nobody can fly now because of the coronavirus pandemic and it really hurt mi that I didn't see him,” she said.
According to Griffiths, Bob Andy — who she knew for nearly six decades — was instrumental in her Studio One career.
“Andy wrote all of my Studio One hits, including Mark My Word, Feel Like Jumping, Melody Life, and Truly,” she said.
He had a massive hit song in Young, Gifted And Black in England with Marcia Griffiths.
Bob Andy, whose given name is Keith Anderson, was born in 1944. A founding member of harmony group The Paragons, he started his career in the early 1960s, but he left before the group became hitmakers at producer Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label.
With Jamaican youth demanding social change in the early 1970s, Bob Andy was one of the writers who summed up the times with songs like the provocative Check It Out and Fire Burning.
He showed a different side to his talent by playing the lead role in the 1978 movie Children of Babylon. But musically, he was largely lost to fans in the 1980s.
A decade later, he was back in demand when Griffiths covered Fire Burning at the height of a massive rocksteady revival.
In 2006, he was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country's music.
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