Rest In Power Jimmy Riley (1954–2016) Music Alone Shall Live

Martin James Norman Riley, a distinguished singer and songwriter known to music lovers the world over as Jimmy Riley passed away around the dawning of March 23rd. Mr. Riley grew up in the musically blessed and economically stressed Waterhouse section of Western Kingston, and attended school with Slim Smith, with whom he would later record the timeless “My Conversation.” He was a member of seminal Jamaican harmoney groups The Sensations and The Uniques, and applied his rich soulful voice to classic solo recordings with Sly & Robbie including “Love & Devotion” and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” which topped the UK reggae chart. His musical legacy is further enriched by the fact that he is the father of the great Tarrus Riley, with whom he often shared the stage. “Tarrus always gravitated toward music,” Jimmy Riley told the New York Times in 2009. “He learned to play the piano and grew up right there in the midst of things. Most of the veteran singers were friends of mine, so he knew them all.” Tarrus and his father appeared onstage together as recently as last Spring’s Oracabessa Festival in Queens, with the elder Mr. Riley in a wheelchair, but still full of life. Check this video of Jimmy in top form. Notice when the band tries to change the riddim, Mr. Riley reminds them, “Me ah the singer!” Don’t you ever forget. Music alone shall live. Video After The Jump… Read more »