Lee “Scratch” Perry, the Grammy-wining artist who had a massive influence on the reggae-inspired dub style of music, died Sunday at age 85.

His death at a hospital in Lucea, Jamaica, was confirmed in an announcement by the country’s prime minister.

“Undoubtedly, today Jamaica has lost the rhythm and soul of a prolific music icon who has inspired many,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in a statement.

“Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was truly one of the most important and creative figures to have come out of Jamaica.”

A cause of death has not been released.

Born in Kendal, Jamaica, as Rainford Hugh Perry in 1936, the musician released dozens of albums during a career that began in the late 1950s and spanned decades.


Perry was a key figure in the success of dub music – a style featuring electronic elements – which rose to popularity during the 1960s and emant that he was responsible for some of the greatest reggae songs, including ‘Dreadlocks in Moonlight,’70s.

“His innovative nature led him to become one of the greatest remixing and studio effects gurus,” read the announcement released by the prime minister’s office.

“His unique approach to recording meant that he was responsible for some of the greatest reggae songs, including ‘Dreadlocks in Moonlight,’ ‘Curly Locks,’ ‘City Too Hot’ and ‘I Am a Madman.’ ”

Several of Perry’s top hit songs, including “Dreadlocks in Moonlight” and “City Too Hot,” were released during the 1980s.

Perry received his lone Grammy in 2003 for “Jamaican E.T.,” which won the award for best reggae album.

He was a five-time Grammy nominee, with each of those nods coming in the best reggae album category. His most recent nomination came in 2015 for “Back on the Controls.”


Perry, who released many of his albums with his house band, The Upsetters, notably worked with fellow reggae standouts from Jamaica including Bob Marley, the Congos and Junior Murvin during his career.

He also worked with big-name groups such as Beastie Boys and The Clash.

“Perry was described as an eccentric character who reshaped the Reggae landscape,” the prime minister’s announcement says. “He was loved by many across the world.”

In a tweet, Prime Minister Holness also offered his “deep condolences to the family, friends, and fans” of Perry.

“Undoubtedly, Lee Scratch Perry will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music fraternity,” Holness wrote in another tweet. “May his soul Rest In Peace.”

Perry worked on music late into his life, including multiple album releases in 2021.

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