FREDDIE McGregor says the Jamaican Government's decision to honour ska legend Derrick Morgan is phenomenal. Morgan and lovers' rock singer Sanchez will be given a Jamaica Music Icon Award for their contribution to Jamaica's music at this evening's Grand Gala, scheduled for the National Arena in St Andrew.
Start time is 6:00.
"Derrick should have gotten that long, long, long time ago. But sometimes, better late than never, and it is great that Derrick is finally getting that recognition ... Respect due to Sanchez as well, as he has put in the work and is worthy to be praised," said McGregor, who is in the United Kingdom for a gig this weekend.
"It's a national award, in front of our national Jamaicans, honouring two people who have done great work over many years and are worthy of being honoured," he continued.
McGregor, who was conferred with the Order of Distinction in 2003 by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country's music, said he and Morgan go way back.
"Nuff respect to Uncle Derrick. Ah Uncle Derrick grow mi. When I was 10 years old I recorded a song [at Studio One] with Uncle Derrick, named I Just Wanna Stay Here and Love You. Is Uncle Derrick send mi dat song and reminded me about dat... These people, when you talk about deserve and deserving of, Uncle Derrick deserve it from the music start. It should have been from then and not just now. He knows he's great. He knows he has done the work. He has done more than any of us has ever dreamed of and he hasn't complained. But he's still doing the work. I know him and know the humble person he is, but I'm thankful he is getting it at this time," McGregor told the Jamaica Observer.
Like Morgan, McGregor is from Clarendon.
Morgan, who was invested into the Order of Distinction by the Government in 2001, wrote Forward March, which coincided with Jamaica's Independence from Great Britain in 1962.
Blind for most of his life, he scored hits in the early 1960s with Lover Boy, Be Still, and Don't Call me Daddy for producer Duke Reid. Moving to Leslie Kong's camp, he again made the charts with Housewife's Choice and Blazing Fire. He is father of reggae singer Queen Ifrica.
Since exploding on the musical scene in the mid-1980s, Sanchez (whose given name is Kevin Jackson) has racked up a string of hits including Loneliness, Pretty Little Girl, Amazing Grace, Frenzy, and Fall in Love.
This evening's gala will see more than 3,000 performers drawn from community groups, dance theatre companies, the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Constabulary Force and youth groups.
Guest performers include Beenie Man, Barrington Levy, Teejay, Toni-Ann Singh, Glacia Robinson, and Tessanne Chin.