Tributes have flooded in for the late U-Roy on social media, following the news of his death. The cause has not been mad public as of yet. Born Ewart Beckford, the musician rose to fame in the 1960s and is best known for pioneering the vocal style of “toasting” under his stage name U-Roy. He performed over a reggae or dancehall beat.
Musician Ghostpoet led tributes on Twitter today.
He wrote: “RIP U-Roy. They ain’t ready for your toasting in heaven.”
Ali Campbell of UB40 referred to the late star as “a true inspiration, [paving] the way for many generations and creating a sound that will live for ever!”
Singer Shaggy added: “Today we lost one of our heroes!!”
A fan commented: “So very sad to hear of the passing of Reggae Legend U-Roy.
“I grew up listening to his music – he will be truly missed.”
“I loved this guys records sooo much,” a third added. “The first time i heard his records they were a total revolution. So sad to hear he has passed on. The greatest.”
U-Roy first DJed aged 14 after growing up in a musical family in Jamaica.
He previously told United Reggae: “My mother used to say to me, ‘Why don’t you trim and shave because you will look a much nicer boy?’
“And I used to say, ‘Listen mum, I did not tell you not to be a Seventh-Day Adventist. I did not tell you not to play that organ on that choir’.
“I’m going to do what I have to do and I’m not going to disrespect you. But what I believe in is what I believe in.”
He started his professional career performing on the soundsystem owned by Dickie Wong, who ran the Tit for Tat record label and club.
In 1969, he made his first recordings with Keith Hudson, Lee Perry and Peter Tosh.
He got his big break a year later after being recognised by John Holt.
The latter witnessed U-Roy DJing and toasting over his song, Wear You to the Ball and encouraged Duke Reid to work with him.
They went on to release the hits Wake the Town, Rule the Nation and Wear You to the Ball.