Ranked by Rolling Stones as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Times, Lee “Scratch” Perry is rightly known as a dub and reggae legend. Perry has been captivating diverse crowds and collecting fans around the world for decades with his undeniable energy and music that reverberates with intense and unexpected combinations of vocals, samples, and instruments.
Being able to witness one of the innovators of reggae and dub perform live easily attracts the masses and fills listeners with a unified sense of enthusiasm, especially the avid music lovers who recognize Perry’s influence on hip hop, modern electronic music, and the music heard throughout the Caribbean.
Lee “Scratch” Perry found his place in the industry by experimenting with the genres of Calypso, Rhythm and Blues, and Mento that formed the Ska genre. It would be more fitting to say that he not only found his place in the industry, he set new standards for emerging artists as he caught the attention of many of the biggest producers and entertainers in the business.
Taking note of his inimitable techniques, his list of collaborations are too long to list, including legendary musicians such as Bob Marley, the Congos and Paul McCartney. Perry’s talents were ahead of his time and his visionary techniques knew no boundaries, creating eclectic fusions that transcended genres and have survived the test of time, remaining relevant and soul stirring.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica as Rainford Hugh Perry on March 20, 1936, it all began to come together for Perry in the 1950’s through his skillful toying with music. People Funny Boy was one of the tracks that began to create major buzz, with Disco Devil, Soul Fire, and The Upsetter album following as hits.
The film and the art world have also taken notice of Perry’s eccentric and charismatic demeanor. He has been honored at the Dem Passwords art gallery in Los Angeles and was the subject of a documentary titled The Upsetters. This film was a major release and was narrated by famed actor, Benicio Del Toro.
Lee “Scratch” Perry serves as an inspiration to artists who are looking to challenge the norm and influence music lovers for generations to come. His contributions have added to the spirit, the intensity, and the powerful messages mixed with the hypnotic beats of what we now know as REGGAE.