www.thewickedsound.com U Roy Wake The Town reggae toaster originator
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Tribute Page: U Roy – Wake The Town (Winston Wright, Tommy McCook)

Wake The Town! Reggae musician and toasting pioneer U-Roy aka Ewart Beckford, has died, aged 78.

Beckford began DJing at just 14, and worked under the tutelage of sound systems including Coxsone Dodd’s and King Tubby’s during the 1960s, and later launched his own Stur Gav sound system in 1978. Beckford’s studio output was also prolific, with hundreds of singles across his career on labels including Studio One, Lee Perry’s Upsetter Records, and Virgin. U Roy remains most famous for popularising the toasting style during the ’60s and ’70s, which helped shape the development of hip-hop.

"Wake the Town" was U-Roy's first big hit and one of the songs that established U-Roy as the grandfather of the modern deejay phenomenon. It also helped create dancehall style in Jamaica. 

The recording that led to the single was initiated when John Holt attended a sound system party, and heard U-Roy deejay. Holt convinced U-Roy and producer Duke Reid to hook up, and have U-Roy talk-over some of Reid's Treasure Island rocksteady classics. U-Roy recorded "Wake the Town" (and another hit, "Rule the Nation"), using his talk-over style, from start to finish without any restarts"Wake the Town" quickly went to number one on Jamaica's pop music charts, along with "Rule the Nation" at number two, and many other deejays began to adopt his style. These two songs, along with "Wear You to the Ball", established U-Roy as a dancehall star and helped create the deejay sound. Dennis Alcapone said of the song, "When U-Roy come with 'Wake the Town' it's like a new Jamaica was born".


Listen to U Roy classic song Wake The Town from his legendary album Version Galore:


“U Roy paved the way and influenced genres worldwide with his original ‘toasting’ sound, a sound that has evolved into modern day rap. We have so much to thank U Roy for. His musical style will live on forever,” shares Trojan Records.


U Roy died aged 78 in Jamaica, due to unknown causes, according to the label report.


Listen to U Roy classic song Wake The Town from his legendary album Version Galore:

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