Gregory Isaacs  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gregory Isaacs (15 July 1951 - 25 October 2010) was a Jamaican reggae musician.

Isaacs was born in Fletchers Land, Kingston, Jamaica. In the 1970s, he emerged as one of the most prolific and popular recording artists in Jamaica. He released a number of self-produced singles on his African Museum (JA) record label, formed in 1973 with Errol Dunkley. Much of Isaacs' output reflected the 'conscious' themes of roots reggae, but Isaacs was equally adept at interpreting more mainstream lovers rock material. His hits include "My Only Lover", "Sinner Man" and "Mr. Cop", recorded at Lee Perry's Black Ark Studio.

A period in the 1970s with the GG's label and its record producer, Alvin Ranglin produced hits like "Border" and "Number One". Many consider his best music to be from the various producers and labels he recorded with in the 1970s, with rootsier songs like "Slave Master" from the classic Mr Isaacs album (1977), contrasting with the optimism of songs like "Love is Overdue" and the beautiful, moving "Loving Pauper".

He signed with Virgin Records and then Charisma Records in the late 1970s, and material from this period gave him a wider international audience. Songs such as "Soon Forward", "If I Don't Have You" and "Let's Dance" are often re-released on compilation albums from this period.

Isaacs signed an international release contract with Island Records, which resulted in the release of the albums Night Nurse (1982), probably his best known album among the many international music fans who had taken to reggae by then; and Out Deh! (1983). Personal problems affected him after this contract ended. After recording for a number of record producers, Isaacs built a strong relationship with Gussie Clarke of the Music Works label. His big comeback hit of 1988, "Rumours", was popular with both young reggae fans, and with those who had listened to his music since those classic songs from the 1970s.

In the 1990s the African Museum label continued to release all of Gregory Isaacs' music, and that of artists he produced. In 1997 Simply Red covered Night Nurse and had a big hit with it. He continues to record and perform live in the 2000s. In 2005 Lady Saw produced another version of Night Nurse with her toasting over the original lyrics.

He recently performed at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Inauguration at Jamaica.

Isaacs also had a prominent role in the feature film "Rockers" alongside many reggae superstars of the time.


More than 500 Gregory Isaacs albums have been released during his career, many being compilations. Studio albums of original material are listed below:

  • In Person (1975) Trojan
  • All I Have Is Love (1976) Trojan
  • The Best Of Vol. 1 (1977) GG's
  • Extra Classic (1977) African Museum
  • Mr Isaacs (1977) DEB
  • Cool Ruler (1978) Front Line
  • Soon Forward (1979) Front Line
  • Slum (Gregory Isaacs in Dub) (1978) Burning Sounds
  • Gregory Isaacs Meets Ronnie Davis (1979) Plant (with Ronnie Davis)
  • Showcase (1980) Taxi
  • Lonely Lover (1980) Pre
  • More Gregory (1981) Pre
  • The Best Of Vol. 2 (1981) GG's
  • Night Nurse (1982) Island/Mango
  • Out Deh! (1983) Island/Mango
  • Let's Go Dancing (1984)
  • Judge Not (1985) Greensleeves (with Dennis Brown)
  • Private Beach Party (1985) RAS
  • Easy (1985) Tad's
  • Double Dose (1986) Blue Trac (with Sugar Minott)
  • All I Have is Love Love Love (1987) Tad's
  • Victim (1987) VP
  • Watchman of the City (1987) Rohit
  • Come Along (1988), Live & Love
  • Red Rose for Gregory (1988) RAS
  • Warning (1989) Firehouse
  • I.O.U. (1989) RAS
  • On The Dance Floor (1990) Heartbeat
  • Call Me Collect (1990) RAS
  • Set Me Free (1991) Vine Yard
  • No Intention (1991) VP
  • Boom Shot (1991) Shanachie
  • State of Shock (1991) RAS
  • Past and Future (1991) VP
  • Pardon Me! (1992) RAS
  • Rudie Boo (1992) Star Trail
  • Unattended (1993) Pow Wow
  • Unlocked (1993) RAS
  • Midnight Confidential (1994) Greensleeves
  • Dreaming (1995) Heartbeat
  • Not a One Man Thing (1995) RAS
  • Private Lesson (1996) Heartbeat
  • Mr. Cool (1996) VP
  • Maximum Respect (1996) House of Reggae
  • Hold Tight (1997) Heartbeat
  • Hardcore Hits (1997) Ikus
  • Dance Curfew (1997), Acid Jazz - with Dread Flimstone
  • Kingston 14 Denham Town (1998) Jamaican Vibes
  • New Dance (1999) Prestige
  • Turn Down The Lights (1999) Artists Only
  • So Much Love (2000) Joe Gibbs Music
  • Future Attraction (2000) VP
  • Father & Son (2000), 2B1 - Gregory Isaacs & Son
  • It Go Now (2002), 2B1
  • Life's Lonely Road (2004)
  • Give It All Up (2004) Heartbeat
  • Rat Patrol (2004) African Museum
  • Masterclass (2004) Greensleeves
  • Revenge (2005) P.O.T.
  • Substance Free (2005) Vizion Sounds
  • Hold Tight (2008) Mafia & Fluxy
  • Brand New Me (2008) African Museum

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gregory Isaacs" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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