UPDATE: Musician Lloyd Charmers is dead

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Lloyd Charmers, the arranger/musician/producer who played a key role in the early years of reggae, is dead.

Charmers died from a massive heart attack in London Thursday, his close friend Lincoln Brown told the Observer.

Speaking from London, Brown said the 74 year-old Charmers suffered the heart attack while driving. He was taken to the Homerton Hospital in east London where he was pronounced dead.

The versatile Charmers grew up in Trench Town, a rugged Kingston community that produced artistes such as Alton Ellis, Joe Higgs and The Wailers.

He was a member of the Uniques, a vocal group that also included singer Keith 'Slim' Smith.

They had several hit songs including Let Me Go Girl and Everybody Needs Love, produced by Bunny Lee. Charmers also provided backing vocals on many early reggae hits such as Winston 'Niney' Holness' Blood and Fire which made the British national chart in 1971.

His greatest success as a producer came in 1974 with Ken Boothe's Everything I Own, which topped the British national chart.

Musicologist Winston 'Merritone' Blake, who knew Charmers for over 30 years, paid tribute to him.

"He is the last of the dynamic producers who brought diversity and quality to our music," Blake said.

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