Gregory's legacy livesMonday, October 26, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
JUNE Isaacs, widow of reggae singer Gregory Isaacs, led a small delegation comprising close family members and friends to Dovecot Memorial Park & Crematorium in St Catherine, yesterday to mark the 10th anniversay of the entertainer's passing.
“His memory will always live on. We have to show some appreciation for him not only as a musician but as a dad, a husband, and friend. As the head of the estate and head of the foundation, I think it's my duty to pay the respects in one way or the other,” Isaacs told the Jamaica Observer.
“Gregory's eldest daughter, Jacqueline, and few more relatives, and myself, just went there and laid a dozen red roses on his grave.”
Isaacs said it didn't seem like a decade had passed by since her husband's death.
“His things are still in place at home. Most of his clothes are still in the closet... His pictures are there. Even when his kids come from abroad, they just come and look. Mi nuh dash wey nutten,” she said.
Isaacs, dubbed reggae's Cool Ruler, died in a London hospital of cancer in 2010. He was 60.
She vividly remembers their last conversation.
“We spoke in Jamaica. He told me he was going to England to do a surgery and he'll be okay. He gave me some property tax papers, discussed some stuff, and left some money for me then he went off... When he went up, he called me and said he's not doing the surgery anymore but he's okay. That was it,” she said.
For the past four years, Isaacs has kept her husband's memory alive by organising a concert dubbed Red Rose for Gregory. American singers Deniece Williams, Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle as well as local acts including Sanchez and Third World have performed at the event.
Part proceeds from the concert are in aid of the Patricia House Rehabilitation Center for persons suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Isaacs battled cocaine addiction which led to the establishment of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, which assists people facing similar challenges.
Born in Denham Town, west Kingston, on July 15, 1950, Gregory Isaacs made his recording debut in 1968 as Winston Sinclair, with the single Another Heartache. He teamed up with two other vocalists, Penroe and Bramwell, for the short-lived trio The Concords, who recorded for producers Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.
In 1973, he and another young singer, Errol Dunkley, started the African Museum label and soon had a massive hit with My Only Lover.
His songs, including Night Nurse, Love Is Overdue, Rumours, and Hot Stepper, continue to dominate the airwaves.
In 2016, he was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country's music.
“It's a journey and me deh pon it. So I'll just travel on the journey until I get lame. I'm doing the best I can because there were very good times. I'll never forget him. He has taught me everything I know, so me haffi give thanks and mi haffi just keep whatever mi can keep alive,” his widow added.