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Gregory Isaacs

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago


The Early Years ('51 - '77)

Gregory (b. July 15, 1951 at the Fletcher's Land area, Kingston)grew up in the ghettos of West Kingston. His first recording was »Another Heartache« (with Winston Sinclair) for Byron Lee in 1968. The song didn't do much and soon after he joined a trio called the Concords. They recorded for Rupie Edwards' Success label and did record a number of singles. Unfortunatel they failed to create any public interest. In 1970 Gregory released the song »Too Late« for Rupie Edwards - the first single to see a UK release. In the following fifteen months six more singles followed of which »Lonely Man« was the only minor hit.


In 1971 he started working with Uziah »Sticky« Thompson how helped him in getting in contact with Lee Perry. Gregory and Sticky cut the song »You Are My Sunshine« for Perry the same year and shortly after followed yet another solo song - »A Little Bit Lighter« - that is regarded as Gregory's first roots protest song. He then worked with Prince Buster for whom he cut »Dancing Floor«.


In 1971 together with Errol Dunkley he launched the label African Museum. Two hits followed »Look Before you Leap« from the same year and »My Only Lover« from the beginning of '72. The fact that he had a label of his own didn't stop him from working with other producers than himself. In 1973 he released the song »One One Cocoa« for Glen Brown. The same year he recorded for Phil Pratt (»All I Have Is Love«) and Randy's (»Lonely Soldier«).


In 1974 he had a series of massive hits for Alvin Ranglin's GG's imprint, »Innocent People Cry«, »Love Is Overdue«, »Don't Go«, and »Sweeter The Victory«. He also recorded his debut album »In Person« for Alvin. Many of his singles on GG's were collected on the albums »The Best Of« and »The Best of Vol. 2«.


In 1975 he recorded »Ba Da« for Niney the Observer. He also did the self-productions »Warriors«, »My Religion« and »Babylon Too Rough« - none being concerned with the love topics of which he built his name with.


The following two years he released the album »All I Have is Love« on Trojan and hit singles such as »Mr Cop« (produced together with Perry), »Extra Classic«, »Thief A Man«, »Rasta Business«, »Black A Kill Black«, »Set The Captives Free«, »Slave Master«, »Let's Dance«, »Promise«, »Something Nice«, »Storm«. The best of these singles was compiled by Gregory and licensed to Micron for release, the result was the album »Extra Classic« from 1977. Apparently Gregory was at this time also working as a panel-beater!


International star ('78 - '86)

In 1978 Isaacs launched the Cash and Carry label, innumerable singles and two highly acclaimed dub albums, »Leggo Dub« and »Slum«. This year he also got signed by Virgin moving him from the small UK labels to a major one. They released the album »Cool Ruler« in 1978 and followed it with »Soon Forward« the year after. He also recorded for Sly & Robbie's Taxi label giving them their first hit on the label with the massive hit »Soon Forward« that was included on an as successful Showcase album simply going by the name of »Show Case«. He also featured in the movie »Rockers«. 1981 saw him releasing the album »Lonely Lover« (a name that was synonymous with Gregory from here after) and in 1982 »More Gregory« followed, both were released on the Charisma's Pre label.


In 1982 Gregory had his probably biggest hit to date with »Night Nurse« that was released on Island Records. As the song was becoming a success all over the world Gregory himself was in jail for a drug arrest. He would speak about his days in jail on the song GP (as in General Penitentiary) from 1985.


In 1983 he released »Out Deh« but the same year he was busted on a gun charge. It seemed a very troubled time of his life as there was continually news on his troubles with the law or private life.


In 1984 Gregory together with Dennis Brown released the split album »Judge Not« (produced by Gussie Clarke) on Greensleeves. In 1985 »Easy« was released - the album was a disappointment to many of his fans. His continued work with Gussie Clarke proved successful though and the album »Private Beach Party« was released. The following year he released yet another two dissappointing albums - »All I Have Is Love Love Love« and »Talk Don't Bother Me«.


Hard drugs ('87 - '89)

In 1987 Gregory was arrested for cocaine possession and a part of his sentence was to go through rehabilitation - something that proved fruitful as he gave up cocaine. In early 1988 he released the single »Hard Drugs« on the Tappa label. The summer of 1988 however Gregory released one of the most important records of his carrer. At this point of his career he was generally though of as a has-been. But once again in work with Gussie Clarke, who seemed to know how to get the best out of Gregory, he was in the cutting edge of reggae when they released the single »Rumours«. The track being the first release from Gussie's new Music Works studio spawned numerous answer versions by artists such as JC Lodge, Shabba Ranks, Daddy Freddy & Asher D and even hiphop legends such as KRS 1 with Boogie Down Productions. The rhythm was also used for Gussie's one-rhythm album »Music Works '88«. The work with Gussie seemed to go from strength to strength as they released the critically acclaimed album »IOU« in 1989 and yet another split album with Dennis Brown, »No Contest«, the same year.


In 1989 following the tragic death of King Tubby the album »Warning« was released. It had been produced by Tubby in '87 (?) and used backing by the Firehouse Crew. It was a very dark album that got much appraise upon it's (late) release. A re-recording of the song »Wailing Rudy« (originally released on African Museum) was included on the set but now instead was called »Badness«.


'90 and onwards

In 1990 Gregory once again worked with Niney Holness, the result was the album »On the Dance Floor«. 1991 saw him working with Phillip »Fatis« Burrell for the album »Call Me Collect«. Even though Gregory had a couple of successful releases in '91 his material was unfortunately very uneven releasing bland albums such as »No Intention« »Boom Shot«. In 1992 Gregory signed a deal with RAS records in the US which resulted in the album »Pardon Me«. Gregory and Fatis joined up again in 1994 for the »Midnight Confidential« album.


It is approximated that Gregory has released over 500 album (including compilations) since the start of his musical career.

Comments (1)

richie love said

at 10:49 pm on Jan 28, 2010

i have gregory isaac singing promise land on african museum using the rythym track for word sounds and power which is a track by someone calld stone on errol dunkleys silver ring label i also know he did an original objection overuled around the same time and woud like help with info on this anyone please

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