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Edi Fitzroy

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b. 17 November 1955, Clarendon, Jamaica, West Indies. Fitzroy, like many teenagers, followed the sound systems, in particular, a sound called Anchio One. After leaving school he started a career with the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation working as an accounts clerk. With a colleague, in his spare time he would often sing over dubs and play them back using the radio station’s equipment. In 1975 Mikey Dread was the station’s top disc jockey, playing reggae on his Dread At The Controls Show, and he heard Fitzroy’s demos. Fitzroy’s first hit, ‘Miss Molly Colly’, broke into the Jamaican Top 10 as the result of Dread’s patronage, and the follow-up, ‘Country Man’, confirmed him as Dread’s protégé. The hits kept coming, including ‘African Religion’, ‘Gun’ and ‘Stylee’, leading to a tour of the UK with Dread in 1980 supporting punk group the Clash. On returning to Jamaica Fitzroy began working with other producers, firstly Lloyd Norris, with whom he recorded ‘Bad Boy’, a minor hit when released in 1981. With Trevor Elliot of Musical Ambassador he recorded an album, and enjoyed a massive hit with ‘Check For You Once’, followed by ‘Youth Man In Penitentiary’ (when interviewed on the radio in Jamaica, he stated categorically that the song was not inspired by personal experience) and ‘Have You Ever’. His success led to a performance at the 1984 Sunsplash Festival and his commitment to equality for women led to an appearance at Zinc Fence in Kingston on International Women’s Day. His commitment was evident in the hit ‘Princess Black’, and he was also dubbed Jamaica’s most socially conscious singer. His follow-up, a reworking of ‘The Gun’, enjoyed a prolonged stay on the chart, breaking all previous records for longevity. In the series of charity records to help the starving in Ethiopia, Fitzroy performed on Jamaica’s contribution, ‘Land Of Africa’. He provided the vocals alongside Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Mutabaruka, Triston Palma, Bunny Rugs, David Hinds and the I-Threes. The artists involved were determined to help to alleviate the situation and formed the Music Is Life organization to emphasize their commitment. However, the single alone was regarded by the collective as an insufficient gesture towards relieving Africa’s dilemma. Fitzroy became a co-director alongside Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper and Orville Tyson, and between them, they established other projects. His recordings and Music Is Life commitments were undertaken alongside his career at JBC.

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17 November 1955 in Clarendon, Jamaica

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