Gregory Isaacs - Lonely Lover & Cool Ruler
One of the true superstars of reggae music, Gregory Isaacs’ career spans four decades. Wow! Known as the “Cool Ruler” or the “Lonely Lover”, Mr. Isaacs was born July 15, 1951, in Fletchers Land, Kingston, Jamaica and left us on October 25, 2010.
Recording since the late 1960s, Gregory Isaacs was one of the most prolific and popular recording artists in Jamaica, recording for producers like King Jammy, Bobby Digital, Steely & Clevie, Redman, Sly & Robbie, Gussie Clarke, and King Tubby, among others. Gregory Isaacs ran the gamut from the smooth lover man to the socially conscious man yearning for a better life, equally comfortable with social protest as he is with lovers’ rock, a genre he virtually invented. The melodies and music of his love ballads are both romantic and sexy, even when delivered in his cool, mellow, nasally style. (I always thought he sounded a bit like he had a clothespin on his nose!)
By 1980, Gregory had become one of the top stars in the reggae world, touring the U.K. and U.S. extensively. But in 1982, after recording the biggest hit of his career, “Night Nurse”, he spent some time in a Jamaican jail after a drug arrest.
After that, he recorded a ton of albums, scores of singles, and continued to tour extensively worldwide. It's been estimated that Mr. Isaacs released up to 500 albums (including compilations) in Jamaica, the U.K., and the U.S. combined. Amazing!
Despite rumors about the Gregory Isaacs' rude boy lifestyle and the decline of his vocal ability with the help of cocaine, he continued recording and creating hit tracks until his death in 2010. In 2008 Mr. Isaacs released a new studio album "Brand New Me". He was back in the style we were accustomed to from this great lovers’ & roots artist. This was followed in 2009 by the album "My Kind Of Lady".
In 2010, Gregory Isaacs issued the last album to be released while he was still living; "Isaacs Meets Isaac", with Zimbabwean reggae singer, King Isaac. In November 2010, "Isaacs Meets Isaac" was nominated for Best Reggae Album for the 2011 Grammy Awards, giving Gregory Isaacs his fourth Grammy Nomination, and Zimbabwe's King Isaac, his first.
After a long battle with lung cancer, the Cool Ruler died on October 25, 2010, at his home in south London. Gregory Isaac's legendary status and reputation in the reggae business were truly second to none and we will miss him dearly!