Gregory Isaacs


Born on July 15 1951, Gregory Anthony Isaacs grew up in the Denham Town area of Kingston, Jamaica. He found music at an earlier age through his mother’s love for singing and music; inspired by famous American singers such as Ben E King and Sam Cooke he started singing while at school and was encouraged by friends and family to enter numerous talent competitions.

He made his recording debut in the late sixties, and since then released a massive catalogue of an estimated 500 albums. Throughout his career he worked with an array of reggae’s biggest icons including Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bunny Lee, and Dennis Brown. He made his first imprint on the Jamaican charts with his single “Love is Overdue” in 1974, which stayed at number one for over a month and marked the start of his increase in popularity.

By the late seventies, due to the success of albums like “The Cool Ruler” and “Soon Forward”, he was one of reggae’s most famous singers, on par with Dennis Brown and Bob Marley. His international break through came in 1982 with the release of the seminal album “Night Nurse”, co written by Sylvester Weise. The lead single of the album Night Nurse reached No. 32 in the UK and was one of the most popular songs of the Lovers Rock movement; it was later covered by Simply Red in 1997.

His increased success coincided with several altercations with the law and his unfortunate incarceration in 1983 for various charges. Following his imprisonment, Gregory continued releasing a prolific catalogue of titles working with various labels in Jamaica. Throughout his career he consistently toured internationally, performing at a range of festivals from Jamaica’s Reggae Sunsplash to The Big Chill and Notting Hill Carnival. Until his last album released in 2008, “Brand New Me” on his own label, African Museum, Gregory released at least three albums a year in the last 20 years of his career.

Gregory was truly respected by all in the music fraternity as a true elder statesman of the Reggae music, one of the key founders of the scene’s current popularity alongside greats like Peter Tosh and Dennis Brown. His legacy as an artist will long be embedded permanently into the history of the reggae music and Jamaica.