Jimmy Riley Dies After Long Battle with Cancer

Reggae singer, Jimmy Riley died yesterday in Florida after a long battle with cancer.

He was 61.

Riley, the father of Reggae Star Tarrus Riley, enjoyed a stellar career and had his first hit song at the tender age of 14.

Like so many great figures in Jamaican music history, Martin James Norman Riley, who performed as Jimmy Riley, was born in Jones Town, South St. Andrew on May 22, 1954.

Riley grew up in Waterhouse and attended Kingston Senior School alongside several future music stars, including the wonderful Slim Smith.

Riley first tasted success as a member of the group, ‘The Sensations’, who topped the charts with ‘Everyday is Just a Holiday’ for legendary producer Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid on the Treasure Isle label in 1968.

Riley left the Sensations and later that year partnered with his old schoolmate, Slim Smith and Lloyd Chalmers in, ‘The Uniques’.

The group cut one of the all time great Jamaican songs when they struck with ‘My Conversation’ for another legendary producer, Bunny Striker Lee.

Riley left the Uniques following the death of Slim Smith and after a brief stint with the Techniques, went on to have a prolific solo career.

Between the late 1970s and early 80s, Riley was at the peak of his powers, recording at least four number one hits.

It was during this period, in 1979 that he recorded his signature tune, ‘Love and Devotion’, on Sly and Robbie’s Taxi label.

–30–