Music Fraternity Mourns Loss Of Jimmy Riley


Music Fraternity Mourns Loss Of Jimmy Riley

Music Fraternity Mourns Loss Of Jimmy Riley

The music fraternity is mourning the loss of yet another of their number after news emerged yesterday that reggae singer Jimmy Riley had died. Reports are that Riley passed away in Florida on Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer.

He was 68 years old. Tributes have been pouring in as entertainers and music industry insiders offer their condolences to the late singer's family.

Among the first to reach out was singer Alaine Laughton. Alaine, who has done a song with Jimmy Riley's son, Tarrus Riley, took to Instagram to show her support. "Sending sincere condolences to @tarrusrileyja for the loss of his father. Only God knows the pain we feel and only God will heal it," she wrote.

Reggae group Third World, who lost their lead singer, Bunny Rugs, in 2014, also took to social media to offer their condolences. "So saddened to hear about the passing of our brother Jimmy Riley," their Instagram post read. "Heartfelt condolences to his family, including his son Tarrus Riley, and his musical family. The Spirit Lives. Jah Bless his soul," it continued.


Taurus Riley's band leader and renowned saxophonist, Dean Fraser, remembered the late singer for his contribution to Jamaica's music industry.

"Jimmy Riley one of the best, brought a lot of soul to our music," he wrote in a post on Facebook.

"Myself and Jimmy Riley, we go back many decades," recalled Tommy Cowan. "Jimmy has always been a very nice person. Very courteous, very accommodating, and he's one of those persons I have never really encountered any aggression with. He was almost like a gentle giant."

Cowan also remembered Riley for his kind words and gentility, adding that his son, Tarrus Riley, is now left to carry on his legacy.

"Tarrus has grown out of Jimmy, in other words, Jimmy has passed it on. Jimmy's success, is really in his successor. That is true success,"

For reggae artiste Sizzla, Jimmy Riley was remembered as a father figure.

"Send a thousand condolences from Sizzla and the Judgement Yard family, Jimmy Riley a mi father, man," he said, adding that Riley mentored him during his early days in reggae music.

Another reggae veteran, Beres Hammond was equally distraught as news broke of Riley's passing.

"You know when you don't expect certain things, and it happens? More time, you just out of words," said Hammond, who was Riley's close friend. "We knew he was sick, but we always remained optimistic and hoped that he would come around,"

He added, "He was a nice guy. I am happy that I got to share a little moment of his life with him. May his soul rest in peace."

Meanwhile, a thoughtful Tony Rebel recounted that he shared a close friendship with Riley up until his death. So close were the two, that persons would sometimes mistake them for each other, he said.

"A mi real brethren. Everywhere them say me and him a brother. I remember when my picture came in the paper and them saying is Jimmy Riley picture came in the paper," he said. "He's just a fun brethren. A serious brethren with music. I remember a book he loaned me in the '90s called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. After that, I produced a song for him called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Is a man that reads a lot. It's a smart youth. I want to send condolences to Tarrus and the whole family. He is one of the icons from long time."

Sanchez, Cedella Marley, Rita Marley, Sean Paul, Trinidadian soca star Bunji Garlin and dancehall artistes Chi Ching Ching and Vanessa Bling were among the other entertainers who used social media to share words of encouragement with Tarrus Riley. In response to the love and support he has been receiving in light of his father's passing, Taurus Riley posted this message to his social media pages: "Jah Jah run tings so I nuh need fi worry. Give thanks for all blessings seen and unseen from this time forth."

Jimmy Riley was born Martin James Ziggy Norman Riley on May 22, 1954. He is more popularly known for his work as a solo act, but was a part of groups such as The Sensations and The Uniques in the earlier parts of his career.

Riley recorded several popular songs, Black Mother Pray and Love and Devotionamong the most well-known, and worked-with top producers such as Sly and Robbie. Among their collaborations, Jimmy and Tarrus Riley recorded Stronger and Pull Up Selector. An acoustic version of Black Mother Pray with father and son singing together is on Tarrus' Mecoustic album,

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