The pioneering DJ who revolutionised the sound of Jamaican music in the early Seventies – Ewat Beckford aka U Roy has passed away at the age of 78 yesterday in Jamaica.
U Roy paved the way and influenced genres worldwide with his original ‘toasting’ sound, a sound that has evolved into modern day rap. We have so much to thank U Roy for. His musical style will live on forever.
A true reggae phenomenon. Never before him, nor for a long time after him, had any artist been able to simultaneously hold the top three positions on the Jamaican charts with three consecutive singles. Even the later international fame of Bob Marley never afforded that particular ‘late great’ a comparable level of chart action. And when U Roy came with his first album it was an event for reggae fans that would have been comparable in rock circles to the release of something like a ‘Pet Sounds’ or ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
Up to the release of ‘Version Galore’, there really wasn’t much of an album market for Jamaican artists. ‘Version Galore’ changed that situation overnight by selling in the kind of quantities that the three chart-topping 45s that preceded it had done. If the success of ‘Wake The Town’, ‘This Station Rule The Nation’ and ‘Wear You To The Ball’ hadn’t already made U Roy the number one artist in Jamaica, this album would (and did!) confirm his star status absolutely.
RIP U Roy