by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaican music has never been short on ballads or balladeers. Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Delroy Wilson, Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Boris Gardiner and Sanchez are some of the acts who belong in that August group.
On August 6, the Jamaican government will honor Sanchez with an Icon Award for his outstanding career that began in the mid-1980s. He will be recognized during the Grand Gala marking Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of independence at the National Stadium in Kingston.
Receiving a similar accolade will be ska legend Derrick Morgan.
Sanchez is a dancehall force who made his name with reggae interpretations of popular pop songs by Jermaine Jackson, Skeeter Davis, Tom Jones, Air Supply, among others. He has also recorded a number of well-received original and gospel songs.
Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Jamaica’s entertainment minister, lauded his long, fruitful career.
“Sanchez has a voice that is incomparable. He has remained on top of his game internationally and it is not surprising that he has excelled in both the secular and gospel arenas,” Grange said.
Here are some of the Sanchez songs dancehall fans have rocked to over the past 34 years.
Loneliness Leave me Alone (1988) — The hit song that got the Sanchez train rolling. A cover of Jermaine Jackson’s Lonelt Won’t Leave me Alone, produced by Winston Riley.
One in A Million You (1988) — The follow-up to Loneliness Leave me Alone was this cover of the Larry Graham soul ballad. A Penthouse Records production.
End of The World (1989) — Sanchez goes country with a riveting take on the Skeeter Davis classic. Produced by Lloyd “King Jammy” James.
Amazing Grace (1990) — Sanchez has never been to afraid to talk about his church roots. This track, produced by Philip “Fatis” Burrell, had even the most hardcore dancehall fan shedding tears.
I Can’t Wait (1991) Sanchez showed his writing chops on this yearning lovers rock single, produced by Bobby Digital.
Fall in Love (1992) The Tom Jones soul standard gets the Sanchez treatment. Produced by Patrick Roberts.
Wherever I Lay my Hat (1993) — Originally done by British singer Paul Young. Sanchez and Bobby Digital do it justice, reggae style.
Here I Am (1994) — The original by Air Supply was a big hit. Sanchez made it a dancehall monster on the Far East ‘riddim’.
Brown Eyed Girl (1994) — A cover of the Tevin Campbell R&B song, became another notch on the hit parade for Sanchez.
Never Dis di Man (1995) — Another original. Sanchez went deep into his soul for this one. Produced by Philip “Fatis” Burrell.