Daddy U Roy the Godfather of Jamaican Deejays has Died

Reggae Pioneer Daddy U Roy To Perform At Groovin In the Park

Daddy U Roy

By Howard Campbell

[Kingston, Jamaica] – Daddy U Roy, considered the Godfather of deejays, died in Jamaica February 17 at the University Hospital of the West Indies at age 79. His spouse, Marcia Smikle, told the Gleaner newspaper he had long-standing diabetes and hypertension problems which led to renal challenges.

U Roy’s Memorable Toasts

Born Ewart Beckford in Jones Town, Kingston. U-Roy is recognized as the first deejay to gain play on mainstream radio in Jamaica. He achieved that through his memorable toasts to hit songs. Songs such as Alton Ellis’ (Girl I’ve Got A Date), The Paragons (Wear You to The Ball) and The Wailers (Soul Rebel/Natty Rebel).

His appearance on Girl I’ve Got A Date featured his signature bellow, ‘Wake The Town and tell the people’ which is one of reggae’s enduring phrases.

Alcapone and Daddy U Roy

Alcapone and Daddy U Roy

Alcapone Remembers U Roy

Dennis Alcapone, one of Daddy U Roy’s proteges, spoke to South Florida Caribbean News from London. He described his mentor as, “Di greatest deejay of all time”.

“He was di man who created di genre of deejaying. There were others before him like Count Matchukie and King Stitt.  But U Roy put things in a story form so everyone could understand,” said Alcapone.

U Roy was a big influence on the crop of deejays who emerged during the early 1970’s.  This includes Big Youth, Prince Jazzbo and I Roy. As head of the Stur Gav sound system, he helped break a number of talented dancehall artists such as Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Early B, Super Cat, Tenor Saw and Shabba Ranks.

In recent years, Daddy U Roy performed throughout Europe and North America, revelling in his designation as dancehall’s elder statesman.

He also collaborated with a new generation of artists like Kafinal, a Jamaican singer based in Toronto. Their song, Nah Complain, won Canada’s Juno Award for Best Reggae Recording in 2016.

Ewart “U Roy” Beckford was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in 2007 for his contribution to the development of reggae music.

 

 

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