Gregory Isaacs would have been 68 on July 15 - Happy Birthday Cool Ruler!

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gregory-isaacs.jpgThe 68th anniversary of the birth of one of Jamaica's most beloved entertainers - Gregory Isaacs, the Cool Ruler is Sunday, July 15, 2018.

As a singer of love songs, it is widely accepted that nobody in reggae music sings a love song quite like him. His unique style - cool, hypnotic, while portraying glimpses of the rude boy, has earned him the title 'The Cool Ruler'. He really emerged in the mid-1970s and developed a style, which at times had his audiences, especially the ladies, almost eating out of his hands.

In both his songs and his personal life, Gregory often seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve: In the tenderly caressed verses of My Number One, his romantic vulnerability is palpably felt.

The song ends with an almost-whispered plea of a man who has known many travails of the heart, when he utters:

"If you want to be my number one,

Let me know your future plan, Please don't hurt this man."

Like many others before him, Gregory started his entertainment career by entering various talent competitions and appearing on stage shows before getting into studio to do his first recording - his self-penned Another Heartache in the late 1960s for West Indies Recording Limited (WIRL), founded by former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga. His second composition My Only Lover, done for Rupie Edwards' Success Label in the early 1970s, became his first hit and was the template of all the lovers rock-reggae tunes that followed. Considered the chief architect of lovers rock, he reinforced that claim with other early pieces like All I Have Is Love, Let's Dance, Salary Is Thin, and on his own African Museum label, Front Door and Night Nurse which was a desperate appeal for help.

"Tell her, try her best to make it quick,

Woman tend to the sick,

For there must be something she can do,

This heart is broken in two,

Tell her its a case of emergency,

There's a patient by the name of Gregory,

Night nurse, only you alone can quench this thirst."

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