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Winston Riley dies at UHWI Featured

Entertainment News Written by  contributed Saturday, 21 January 2012 00:54 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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Legendary producer and reggae artiste Winston Riley died on January 19th at the University Hospital of the West Indies. He was 65 years old. He had been hospitalised - in an induced coma -  since last November when he had been shot in the head during an attack at his upper St. Andrew home. Curiously, that attack came only a few months after his Orange Street-based Techniques studio was razed in a fire.

Riley established a museum dedicated to the history of Jamaican pop music in downtown Kingston.

Born in the west Kingston community of Denham Town, Winston Riley started his career in the early 1960s as a performer on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. In 1964, he became a member of harmony group, The Techniques, which recorded for producer Arthur 'Duke' Reid's Treasure Isle label.

Led by the gifted singer, Keith 'Slim' Smith, the original Techniques line-up had hits in the ska era with Little Did You Know. The group excelled when ska evolved into rock steady, becoming one of the genre's top acts.

Riley was with the Techniques during their glory years, appearing on big hits like Love Is Not a Gamble, My Girl and Travelling Man. He left the group in the late 1960s and went into production, launching his Techniques label.

He had instant success with Double Barrell, a massive hit in Britain in 1971 for Dave Barker and Ansell Collins. Around the same time, Riley produced Come Back Darling which was done by singer Johnny Osbourne.

In the 1970s, Riley teamed with Collins and the Soul Syndicate Band to cut the Stalag 'riddim' which has spawned some of the biggest hits in dancehall music, such as General Echo's Arlene and Ring The Alarm by Tenor Saw.

Ring The Alarm was recorded on an updated Stalag in the 1980s when computerised beats took over Jamaican popular music. Riley embraced the new sound and had an impressive run throughout the decade with several upcoming artistes.

Some of the acts who scored for Riley during this period were Super Cat (Boops), Sister Charmaine (Granny Advice), Red Dragon (Hol' A Fresh), Sanchez (Loneliness) and Spanner Banner (Life Goes On).

Read 2399 times Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2012 01:03

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