Winston Riley has died.

Celebrated hit producer and songwriter Winston "Techniques" Riley died at the age of 65 at University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston on Thursday 19th January 2012 from the effects of a gunshot wound he received last year. He was in a coma since he was attacked and shot in the back of the head in November last year. Winston Riley had been plagued by a series of violent attacks. He was shot in August last year and later stabbed five times in September. Furthermore his record store in Kingston's downtown business district was burned down several years ago.

While still in his teens, Winston Riley founded the legendary rocksteady harmony group called The Techniques (originally consisting of Slim Smith, Franklyn White, Frederick Waite, and Winston Riley himself) known from many great tunes they recorded for Treasure Isle producer Duke Reid. In 1968 the group broke away from Duke Reid, and Winston Riley, with his brother Buster, borrowed enough money from his mother to start his own record label, for which he used the group's name. They recorded several Techniques tracks for their label, which were fully the equal of their treasure Isle rocksteady classics, namely "Man Of My Word", "One Day", and "Go Find Yourself A Fool". Their production of Johnny Osbourne's "Come Back Darling" was an immediate success followed by an album of the same name. Other early productions included Johnny Osbourne's "See And Blind" and "Purify Your Heart", Alton Ellis' "I'll Be Waiting", Lloyd Young's "High Explosion", Dennis Alcapone's "Look Into Yourself", Jimmy Riley's "Prophecy", and The Ethiopians' "Promises". These appeared on a variety of labels in Jamaica - Techniques, Wind, Serpent, Romax and Riley Inc.

In 1970 he released his commercially most successful record, the funky piano-led "Double Barrell" by Dave & Ansel Collins, which became a number 1 hit in the UK pop charts. Then the follow-up, "Monkey Spanner", reached number 7 in the UK. In 1973 he achieved a huge Jamaican hit with "Stalag 17", an instrumental by the Soul Syndicate band featuring the organ of Ansell Collins. During the mid-70s other fine productions appeared in the then popular roots style, including The Interns' (aka The Viceroys) "Mission Impossible", Augustus Pablo's "Black Out", Morvin Brooks' "Cheer Up Blackman", and Donovan Addams' "Don't Mock Jah", along with a pair of fine dub albums, "Meditation Dub" and "Concrete Jungle Dub". As the decade drew to a close he released General Echo's debut album "The Slackest LP", which introduced the dancehall deejay to a wider world. Winston Riley similarly lauched both Sister Carol, the first really popular female deejay, and the singer who was the most recorded of the 80s, Frankie Paul. This period also saw numerous singles by Johnny Osbourne including "Politician", "Inflation", and a recut of "Purify Your Heart". In 1982 Winston Riley revived The Techniques with Morvin Brooks and ex-Paragon Tyrone Evans to record an album, "Never Fall In Love".

In 1985 Winston Riley utilized an overdubbed cut of Ansell Collins' "Stalag 17" for Tenor Saw's massive dancehall hit "Ring The Alarm", which prompted the classic 'one-riddim' album "Stalag 17, 18 & 19", later followed by a second set of "Stalag" version called "Original Stalag 20". The most important of Winston Riley produced digital tunes was the first hit from Super Cat entitled "Boops". Further hits produced by Wiston Riley included Red Dragon's "Hol A Fresh", Flourgon's "Hol A Spliff", Papa San & Lady G's "Legal Rights", Admiral Tibet's "Leave People Business" and "Badminded People", Courtney Melody's "Bad Boy" and "Exploiter", and Reggie Stepper's "Co-Unuh". Without any doubt Winston Riley has been one of the most successful producers in the history of Jamaica's popular music, and many artists have benefitted from his expertise. Winston Riley is survived by several children and grandchildren.

Sources: The Rough Guide To Reggae, The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae, Jamaica Observer.
Winston Riley
1946-2012




SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Albums:

  • Bobby & Tommy - Green Mango
  • Dave Barker & Ansell Collins - Dave & Ansell Collins In Toronto
  • Dave & Ansel Collins - Double Barrel
  • Frankie Paul - Strange Feeling
  • General Echo - 12" Of Pleasure
  • Johnny Osbourne - Warrior
  • Johnny Osbourne & Sensations - Come Back Darling
  • Lone Ranger - Dee Jay Daddy
  • Lone Ranger - Rosemarie
  • Madoo - Best Of Madoo
  • Pat Kelly - Lonely Man
  • Prince Mohammed - Bubbling
  • Prince Mohammed & General Echo - People Are You Ready
  • Ranking Slackness - Slackest LP
  • Sensations - Born To Love You
  • Sister Nancy - One Two
  • Super Cat - Si Boops Deh!
  • Techniques - Classics
  • Techniques - Classics Vol 2
  • Techniques - I'll Never Fall In Love
  • Techniques - Techniques In Dub
  • Techniques All Stars - 357 Magnum Dub
  • Tommy McCook - Top Secret
  • Tyrone Evans - Don Evans
  • U Roy - Super Boss
  • Various Artists - 14 Carat Gold
  • Various Artists - Klikers
  • Various Artists - Roots Techniques
  • Various Artists - Original Stalag 20
  • Various Artists - Stalag 17,18 & 19
  • Viceroys - Chancery Lane
  • Winston Riley - Meditation Dub Vol 1
  • Winston Riley - Jungle Fever Dub