Reggae Rock Steady icon Jimmy Riley was born Martin James Norman Riley (22 May 1954 – 23 March 2016).He began his music career as a member of The Sensations and The Uniques but ended it as recording solo artist with many hit songs through four decades.
He was the father of reggae singer Tarrus Riley.
As a singer songwriter Jimmy Riley’s hits as group member of The Sensations and The Uniques included “Everyday is Just a Holiday”, “Those Guys”, “Watch This Sound” and “My Conversation”. He was also a producer of his own recordings as well as others artists such as rock steady icons, the great Slim Smith and child prodigy Delroy Wilson.
Jimmy’s most successful period as a solo singer was in the 1980s working with Sly & Robbie’s Taxi productions. Riley’s first No. 1 hit in Jamaica, “Love and Devotion,” which reached the British pop charts in 1982. In 1983, Riley topped the UK reggae chart with his remake of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” The local hits included “Bang, Bang”, “My Woman’s Love”, “ Black Woman Pray” and “Give Me Your Love.”
With the success of his son Tarrus, Jimmy’s career was revived in the last decade. They performed together headlining a number of festivals. Father and son biggest hit was “Pull Up Selector” in 2008 from the album Sly and Robbie Presents Jimmy Riley.:
Jimmy released his last the album “Contradiction” in 2013 that featured guest appearances from his son Tarrus, Sizzla, and Fantan Mojah.
Here is a taste of Riley’s musical life:
My all-time favorite Jimmy Riley songs:
Love and Devotion
My Woman’s Love
I Wish It Would Rain
Pure & True
Pull up Selector (with Tarrus Riley)
Black Mother Pray
Put The People First – Put The People First LP / Shanachie
Blessed be the Father ( No No No Riddim )
Majority Rule