Celebrated reggae icon Bob Andy, one of Jamaica’s most celebrated songwriters, died this morning (Saturday, March 28) at about 8 a.m.
“Jamaica’s greatest songwriter is no longer with us,” promoter Michael Barnett, conceptualiser of the popular Heineken Startime series, confirmed to ONE876editor Claude Mills.
Keith “Bob Andy” Anderson reportedly been ailing for some time before he finally passed away.
Bob Andy had his first solo hit record in 1967, “I’ve Got to Go Back Home”, which was followed by “Desperate Lover”, “Feeling Soul”, “Unchained”, and “Too Experienced”. He also composed songs for other reggae artists, including “I Don’t Want to See You Cry” for Ken Boothe, and “Feel Like Jumping”, “Truly”, and “Melody Life” for Marcia Griffiths.
He had several hits in the late 1960s, including “Going Home”, “Unchained”, “Feeling Soul”, “My Time”, “The Ghetto Stays in the Mind”, and “Feel the Feeling”. Some of these, and his 1992 hit, “Fire Burning”, have come to be regarded as reggae standards and several have been covered several times by other artists.
In the early 1970s, he recorded with Marcia Griffiths as Bob and Marcia, initially for Studio One, but later under producer “Harry J” Johnson’s tutelage. They had a major UK hit with “Young, Gifted and Black”, and he recorded “Pied Piper” , another top 20 UK hit, with Griffiths and they toured again.
Disillusioned with the industry, in 1978 Andy put his music career on hold and after taking up creative dancing with the National Dance Theatre Company, concentrated on his career as an actor, starring in the films Children of Babylon in 1980, and The Mighty Quinn (1989).
He relocated to London, where he worked as a producer and recorded with Mad Professor, and later to Miami. The Jamaican government conferred the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) on the singer in October 2006 for his contributions to the development of Jamaican music.