Written by on March 6, 2017

Jamaican music legend Edi Fitzroy, has also passed away.

Born Fitzroy Edwards in Chapleton, Clarendon, Edi Fitzroy was the son of sound system operator Vasco Edwards, but studied accounting.

He worked at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) – as an Accounts Clerk, but he is most known for being the first person to play Reggae music on the radio.

The story goes, one day in the early 1970s, Fitzroy and a radio colleague locked themselves in JBC’s radio station and played Reggae music on the predominantly R&B and Soul station all day.

As the only radio station in Jamaica at them time, the incident – which was recreated in the famed Jamaican movie “Rockers”, became an island wide controversy that was cheered by the listeners. The response resulted in JBC playing Reggae in regular rotation and inspired the birth of several Reggae format radio stations.

Following a 22 year career at JBC, Edi Fitzroy left to pursue music full time, and with the help of JBC radio announcer and artist Mikey Dread, released his first single, “Miss Molly Colly”.

The song became a top ten hit in Jamaica, leading Mikey Dread to carry Fitzroy on a U.S. tour, opening for rock group The Clash.
During the tour Fitzroy performed with the Clash on their hit, “Bankrobber” from their “Black Market Clash” album.

Working with producers such as Lloyd Norris and Trevor Elliot, his 1982 debut album “Youthman Penitentiary” topped the Jamaican albums chart for 4 weeks. Other hits like “Princess Black” – a ode to black women, “African Queen”, “Prison Life”, “Level de Vibes”, “The Gun”, and “Check For Yuh Once, lead to Edi Fitzroy becoming renowned as one of Jamaica’s most socially conscious singers.

During his career, he received the 1982 Press Association of Jamaica Award, the 1984 Rockers Award for Most Conscious Performer, and the 1984 Rockers Award for Most Conscious Performer, and for 3 consecutive years the International Music Award for the Most Cultured-oriented artiste in Jamaica and the U.S.

Most recently he served as a director of Jamaica’s Music Is Life organization – alongside Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Michael “Ibo” Cooper, and Orville Tyson.

Edi Fitzroy had recently taken ill and passed away at the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon on Saturday March 4 at the age of 62. His cause of death is unknown.

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