October 28, 2021
A three-month exhibition on Gregory Isaacs’s impact on reggae in the United Kingdom will be launched tomorrow in Headstone Manor and Museum in Harrow, north-west London.
The exhibition will open on Tuesday and ends January 30, 2022.
His widow, June Isaacs, said she is pleased with the recognition.
“It’s an honour to know that Gregory can be recognised during Black History Month. The people highlighted during this month are ones who shone in their respective fields. It is indeed a great honour,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
October is celebrated as Black History Month in the UK.
Isaacs died 11 years ago today in Harrow of cancer. The lovers’ rock singer had a massive following in the UK. The house where he lived on 59 Weald Lane was honoured with a blue plaque in 2016. The symbolic blue plaque has been placed at homes of famous people in Britain since the late 19th century. Among them are Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, poet Lord Byron, and authors Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson.
June Isaacs said the reggae singer’s son, Gregory Isaacs Jr who resides in the United Kingdom and who is a director of the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, was the one contacted by the museum.
According to the museum’s website, Isaacs was an icon.
“We are celebrating a musical icon, the legendary Jamaican reggae singer Gregory “Cool Ruler” Isaacs, coinciding with his memorial day. We’re delighted to be able to co-curate a small exhibition in our community cupboard within the Manor House and a digital exhibition,” it read.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no activities are planned locally to mark the 11th anniversary of his passing. His widow, however, is hoping local radio stations will be playing Isaacs’s music to mark the day.
She said her late husband’s music is still relevant today.
“He recently got silver for the album Night Nurse. His music is long-lasting and everyone can relate to [it] — middle age, old age, young. With Night Nurse’s silver certification, it shows it’s the new generation that is discovering it now, so we have bridged the gap,” said Isaacs.
Night Nurse, the 1982 album by Isaacs, was recently certified silver in the United Kingdom by the British Phonographic Industry for sales exceeding 60,000 copies.
Recorded at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, the set features songs including the popular title track Stranger in Town, Cool Down the Place, Material Man, and Sad to Know (You’re Leaving).
Born in Denham Town, west Kingston, on July 15, 1950, Isaacs made his recording debut in 1968 as Winston Sinclair with the single Another Heartache. He teamed up with two other vocalists, Penroe and Bramwell, for the short-lived trio The Concords who recorded for producers Rupie Edwards and Prince Buster.
In 1973 he and another young singer, Errol Dunkley, started the African Museum label and soon had a massive hit with My Only Lover.
His songs, including Love Is Overdue, Rumours and Hot Stepper, continue to dominate the airwaves.
In 2016 he was posthumously awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) by the Jamaican Government for his contribution to the country’s music.