Jimmy Riley, Jamaican reggae musician, Died at 61


Martin James Norman Riley was born on May 22, 1954, and died on March 23, 2016.

He was better known as Jimmy Riley.

He was a Jamaican singer.

In addition to his recordings solo was also a member of the Sensations and The Uniques and was the father of Tarrus Riley.

He grew up in the city’s Waterhouse district and attended Kingston Senior School along with Slim Smith.

Following the Success of Smith’s Techniques, Jimmy Riley hung around with the group hoping to join, but was limited to carrying things for them and helping out with harmonies.

Then, Jimmy decided to form his own group, The Sensations, along with Cornell Campbell, Buster Riley (brother of The Techniques’ Winston Riley), and Aaron “Dego” Davis.

The group had a successful audition for producer Arthur “Duke” Reid, and the group had mid-1960s success with “Everyday is Just a Holiday” and “Those Guys”.

Upon leaving the group in 1967, Jimmy Riley joined Smith and Lloyd Charmers in the re-formed Uniques, having huge success with songs such as “Watch This Sound” and “My Conversation”.

After Uniques split up, Riley initially recorded as a solo artist for Bunny Lee before moving away to record independently. He began producing his own recordings and others by artists such as Slim Smith and Delroy Wilson.

Jimmy had several hits in the 1970s, including “Tell The Youths The Truth”, “Nyah Bingi”, and “Clean up the Streets”, and continued to be successful in the 1980s, working with Sly & Robbie’s Taxi productions.

During 1983, Jimmy Riley topped the UK reggae chart with his version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”.

Over the late 1980s, Riley relocated to Miami, and put his career on hold, but returned to Jamaica in the early 1990s.

His son Tarrus picked up music after him and the success of Tarrus gave a boost to Jimmy’s career.

Together they performed several times, headlining a number of festivals including the Ocho Rios Seafood Festival in 2007.

Jimmy’s album was released in 2008 Sly and Robbie Presents Jimmy Riley: Pull Up Selector saw him again working with Sly & Robbie, and features Tarrus on the title track, which was also released as a single in 2008.

He released the album Contradiction, that featured guest appearances from his son Tarrus, Sizzla, and Fantan Mojah, in September 2013.

Martin James Norman Riley passed away at 61 yrs old.