Reggae superstar Gregory Isaacs died at his London home today at age 59 after a battle with lung cancer, the Washington Post reports. Isaacs was known for popularizing “lover’s rock,” a reggae style that dealt with romance and relationships rather than the political themes embraced by the likes of Bob Marley and Burning Spear. Called “the most exquisite vocalist in reggae” by the New York Times, Jamaican-born Isaacs had a hit with “Night Nurse” in 1982.
A fan of American rhythm and blues as a child, Isaacs had a number of hits in Jamaica before Island Records began releasing material in the US. But he struggled with the law and drugs, getting arrested 27 times and eventually losing his teeth due to a crack addiction, which hampered his singing. The “cool ruler” reportedly appeared on some 500 albums, as well as in the film Rockers, a sort of reggae version of A Hard Days Night.
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