Robbie Shakespeare: Rastafarian singer and new Brotherhood frontman dies aged 68

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Robbie Shakespeare formed the new group (L-R) Daddy-O, Robbie Culture and Zylon Culture

Reggae legend Robbie Shakespeare has died aged 68.

His close friend and fellow Jamaican vocalist Junior Culture confirmed the news on Facebook .

Mr Shakespeare formed his own Rastafarian group, the New Brotherhood, in 1976, and also featured on the reggae classic, Medusa.

“This is hard,” Culture wrote in an emotional Facebook post . “Robbie broke my heart with this news.”

Why Robbie Shakespeare?

Mr Shakespeare’s career spanned nearly four decades and was largely shaped by the early 1970s.

As well as the 1970 hit, his work also included classics such as Taxi De Boo, Zylon Culture and Daddy-O, as well as collaborations with Martha Wainwright, and Craig David.

His only American album was, appropriately, called The Rastafarian Way of Love.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Robbie Shakespeare’s voice provided the vocal strings for the hit Medusa

Mr Shakespeare was a former public school pupil, but it was his classical music background that marked him out among his peers.

He studied composition at Cambridge University, and had an audition with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

His mother passed away while he was studying at a London prison, and Shakespeare wrote lyrics for his mother’s funeral in prison songs.

A regular at Rockfort reggae shows, the reggae legend became a bit player by comparison to the likes of Bob Marley, but was an aficionado of the genre.

He gave Jamaica its first man on record to play electric guitar and sing, signing on with the independent label Golden Grove Records for $3,000.

But by 1982, the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association gave up on Mr Shakespeare and other copyists who recorded on a kerosene tape recorder.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Shakespeare formed his own group, the New Brotherhood, in 1976

Instead, a reggae brand would emerge – reggae productions and acts such as Elephant Man and Spice – rather than the mediocre recordings by Mr Shakespeare.

Mr Shakespeare did go on to tour the world as a solo artist, releasing a solo album in 1996 called My First Goal.

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