Lord Creator obituary


The Trinidadian singer and songwriter Lord Creator, who has died aged 87, was greatest recognized for his tune Kingston City, which was lined as a single in 1990 by the British band UB40, offering him with a windfall of publishing royalties at a comparatively late and impoverished stage in his life.

A love letter to the capital of Jamaica – and the lady who’s ready for him there – the unique was written by Creator in 1970 in Kingston itself, to the place he had moved a number of years earlier than. UB40’s model shot to No 4 within the UK singles charts and made it to No 1 in France and the Netherlands, reviving curiosity within the earlier work of Creator, who had set out as a calypsonian in his homeland however had turned to ska and reggae after he arrived in Jamaica.

He was born Kenrick Patrick in San Fernando in southern Trinidad, to MacDonald Patrick, who labored within the native oilfields, and Enid (nee McDougall), a housewife. After attending Wesleyan Methodist faculty in San Fernando he labored in development whereas making his early strikes into the music enterprise. A gifted singer who modelled himself on American crooners equivalent to Nat King Cole, he quickly tasted native success underneath his stage title.

Lord Creator performs Kingston City

In 1958 his frivolous debut single, The Cockhead, was nicely acquired in Trinidad, paving the best way for a follow-up of extra severe high quality, Night Information, the story of a younger boy who struggles to outlive on the streets by promoting newspapers. It was a giant hit domestically and its success was replicated throughout the English-speaking Caribbean, even gaining a UK launch on the Melodisc label.

Quickly Creator started performing recurrently in Jamaica, settling there in 1962, the yr the island grew to become unbiased from the UK.

When the Kingston file magnate Randy Chin determined the newly emancipated nation wanted a tune to soundtrack its celebrations, he requested Creator to give you one thing acceptable, and the outcome – the calypso Unbiased Jamaica – grew to become a nationwide hit.

Chris Blackwell was within the strategy of founding Island Information on the time, and he licensed the tune because the label’s first launch within the UK.

By 1966 Creator had picked up on the burgeoning ska sound in Jamaica because it grew to become the dominant Caribbean music kind. His debut album, Jamaica Time, produced by Coxsone Dodd and launched on the Studio One label, was a mixture of originals and in style requirements – together with Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ within the Wind – set to relaxed calypso and ska preparations.

His 1969 album Pepper Pot Calypso Songs Me Mama By no means Taught Me, was a set of innuendo-ridden compositions that didn’t even characteristic his title on the quilt, most likely as he didn’t need to lose his gigs at Jamaica’s unique nightclubs and vacationer resorts.

In 1970, Creator’s album Large Bamboo additionally featured various ribald originals, although they had been leavened with covers of songs by artists equivalent to Harry Belafonte. That yr additionally noticed the discharge of Kingston City as a forty five on the Jamaican producer Clancy Eccles’ Clan Disc label, however whereas it was a high-quality tune it didn’t generate quite a lot of curiosity.

As reggae grew to become heavier in sound and material throughout the 70s, curiosity in Creator’s a lot lighter materials started to wane. He did file two 45s with the dub producer Lee “Scratch” Perry in 1976 and 1977 – one in every of which, Such is Life, was a high-quality instance of roots reggae. However altering fashions and the onset of alcoholism more and more pushed him to the sidelines. By 1984 poverty had pressured him to relocate to Trinidad.

UB40’s interpretation of Kingston City subsequently got here as a welcome intervention. Featured on the group’s 1989 album, Labour of Love II, it grew to become the second single to be launched from the LP and offered greater than 2m copies within the UK alone. On the time, Creator had been hospitalised by a stroke in Trinidad and declared that the publishing royalties had been like successful the lottery.

Properly recovered by the tip of 1990, he returned to Jamaica that yr to purchase houses for himself and a number of other of his kids, whereas additionally making a substantial monetary donation to Eccles, who had overseen the Kingston City recording session.

Eccles was dissatisfied with this largesse and subsequently sued Creator to be credited as co-writer (and obtain 50% of publishing), however misplaced the courtroom case.

Renewed curiosity in Creator’s work noticed him often carry out at ska festivals in Japan, the US and Europe, and ensured that his Nineteen Sixties recordings had been reissued on CD. Nevertheless, he suffered one other stroke in 2005, needed to have again surgical procedure in 2013 and by 2019 might not stroll.

In 2022, on the sixtieth anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, the federal government conferred on him the Order of Distinction (officer class) for his contribution to the event of Jamaican music.

He’s survived by his spouse, Neseline, whom he married in 2000, and by eight kids from varied relationships.


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