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Artist Hall of Fame

U RoyText by Harry Hawks

‘Living Legend’ is a much overused and abused description. However, no-one could argue that Ewart ‘U Roy’ Beckford is a living legend. The Rightful Ruler, the ‘Deejay Daddy’, deserves every accolade that comes his way.
Date Added: Aug 22, 2012, Date Updated: Aug 23, 2012 Copyright (C) 2017 Dub Store Sound Inc.
Real Name: Ewart Beckford
Sep 21, 1942 -
Place of Birth: Kingston
Jamaica
Related Artist(s):
Dennis Alcapone
King Stitt
Count Matchuki
I Roy
Prince Jazzbo
Big Youth
In the beginning deejays were not regarded as record makers; their role was to introduce the records, make announcements, encourage the dancers and keep things going with scat talk, rhymes and exhortations... in fact anything that could keep the crowd moving. Although they were not considered as recording material deejays would still occasionally appear on record but, even when they made it on to vinyl, they usually failed to get any credit.

Born Ewart Beckford 21st September 1942 in Jones Town, Kingston U Roy began deejaying for Dickies Dynamic before moving to Sir George The Atomic and eventually remaining with King Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi in 1967 after a brief stint for Coxsone(CS Dodd)'s Down Beat Sound System. As the decade drew to a close a number of forward thinking producers including Bunny Striker Lee, Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry), Lloyd 'Matador' Daley and Keith Hudson saw the potential of putting U Roy on record. For Striker he made 'Orgarang', a version to Striker's massive 'Bangarang', 'King Of The Road', the obscure 'Non Violence' and 'Wake The Nation' with Jeff Barnes. With Scratch U Roy made the earth shattering 'Rightful Ruler' over the Reggae Boys thundering 'Selassie' with the assistance of Peter Tosh introducing the record in Amharic and 'OK Corral'. With Lloyd 'Matador' Daley he made the beautiful 'Scandal' and 'Sounds Of The Wise' but it was 'Dynamic Fashion Way' for Keith Hudson that set him in the direction he would follow for the rest of his incredible career. A version to Ken Boothe's driving 'Old Fashioned Way' the record began with one of the best introductions ever committed to vinyl and then never eased up until the fade out... but none of these records could be described as big hits.

In 1969 and 1970 King Stitt finally came into his own with a series of groundbreaking hits for producer Clancy Eccles. Stitt was the number one deejay on Coxsone's sound "a position of great responsibility" but Mr Dodd never fully exploited Stitt's dynamic potential on record. His Studio One outings, such as his version to Dennis Brown's 'No Man Is An Island' entitled 'No Man Version' and John Holt's 'OK Fred' entitled 'Redder Than Fred', were very good but never sold as well as his recordings for Clancy. But King Stitt had opened the door for U Roy to keep on coming through and, in 1970, he turned Jamaica's musical scene round, right round and round again.

Working with the pick of Duke Reid's classical canon of Treasure Isle rock steady recordings he laid the ground rules for all deejays to follow for ever after. Previously they had introduced the record and added their "peps" as the record progressed... now U Roy "rode the rhythm" all the way through the record seemingly agreeing and disagreeing with the original vocalists. U Royfirst three releases for Treasure Isle, 'Wake The Town', 'Rule The Nation' and 'Wear You To The Ball', held the top three positions in the Jamaican charts for twelve incredible weeks in 1970. The 'Version Galore' album, released on Treasure Isle in Jamaica and Trojan in the UK, is a certified classic; reggae historian Chris Lane once wrote "no-one will ever make a better album than this" and I certainly would never disagree with that.

U Roy's impact and influence were enormous and a whole host of imitators followed in his wake: U Roy Junior, Mad Roy, I Roy, U Brown and U Black all borrowed from his name while others, including Dennis AlCapone, Lizzy, King Sporty and Winston Scotland transferred all that they had been doing live and direct in the dance halls to the recording studio. Kingston's singers claimed that they were unable to get a look in and "deejay tunes were taken off the airwaves in order to give the singers a chance of surviving" but things gradually returned to normal and deejay records became an integral part of Kingston's musical vocabulary.

By the mid seventies the upcoming pretenders to U Roy's throne, such as I Roy, Big Youth and Prince Jazzbo, had supposedly taken over from the king and it was alleged that U Roy was unable to ride the new style of dubbed up rhythms. This was palpably untrue as U Roy was working those rhythms night after night live and direct on King Tubby's Home Town Hi Fi and his appearance with Big Youth on the truly incredible 'Battle Of The Giants' for the Youth's Negusa Nagast label, his almighty 'Foundation Skank' for Federal, his 'Penny For Your Dub' for Derrick Harriott and the startling 'Number One In The World' for Glen Brown all demonstrated his complete mastery of the drum and bass style. And in 1975 a selection of records for Bunny Striker Lee including 'Joyful Locks' and 'Gorgon Wise' put U Roy back on top of the peak.

It was at this time that Virgin Records decided to invest heavily in Jamaican music and U Roy was one of their first signings. The 'Dread In A Babylon' album, for producer Prince Tony Robinson, catapulted him into the international big time and this release, followed by 'Natty Rebel', 'Rasta Ambassador' and 'Jah Son Of Africa' sold in their thousands. The allegedly illegal USA only release of 'Dubbing To The King In A Higher Rank' album on King Attarney in 1976 featured U Roy seeing to a selection of Channel One rhythms "tell them Diamonds" in a rockers style and further demonstrated his sound system supremacy. This very obscure release was repackaged and retitled as 'The Lost Album. Right Time Rockers' over two decades later. He set up his own Sturgav Sound System, named after his two sons, but usually known as Stereograph as in Barry Brown's perennially popular "Stereograph the general..." dub plate special.

He was awarded Jamaica's Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer in 2007 and U Roy continues to tour and perform. His live appearances are as show stopping as ever and he has always remained a man of few words away from the microphone never ceasing to be surprised at his forty years of unstoppable success. U Roy is responsible for some of the greatest records ever made by anyone anywhere and did more than anyone else ever to popularise the art of the deejay. His work on the microphone irrevocably altered the nature of music in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond and he is, beyond any doubt, a living legend.
Aug 22, 2012 (Aug 23, 2012 Update) Text by Harry Hawks
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Hit titles
U Roy - Original DJ
CD U Roy - Original DJ Virgin Front Line US
  
¥2180 (US$19.97)
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U Roy - Now
CD U Roy - Now Tabou Records EU
¥2180 (US$19.97)
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U Roy - Version Galore (U Roy & Various Artists) (2CD)
CD U Roy - Version Galore (U Roy & Various Artists) (2CD) Trojan UK
  
¥2880 (US$26.39)
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U Roy - Version Galore + Words Of Wisdom (1970-1972)
CD U Roy - Version Galore + Words Of Wisdom (1970-1972) Treasure Isle
¥2380 (US$21.81)
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U Roy - Hold On Rasta
CD U Roy - Hold On Rasta Clocktower CA
  
¥2180 ¥1980 (US$18.14)
BUY
U Roy - Rasta Ambassador
CD U Roy - Rasta Ambassador Virgin Front Line US
  
¥2080 (US$19.06)
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U Roy - Dread In A Babylon
CD U Roy - Dread In A Babylon Virgin Front Line UK
  
¥1980 ¥1683 (US$15.42)
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U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa
CD U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa Virgin Front Line US
  
¥2480 ¥1580 (US$14.48)
BUY
U Roy - True Born African
CD U Roy - True Born African Ariwa UK
  
¥2380 ¥1880 (US$17.23)
BUY
U Roy - Originator
LP U Roy - Originator Attack
  
¥1580 (US$14.48)
BUY
U Roy - Meets King Tubby
LP U Roy - Meets King Tubby Attack UK
  
¥2180 (US$19.97)
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U Roy - Version Galore (U Roy & Various Artists)
LP U Roy - Version Galore (U Roy & Various Artists) Trojan UK
  
¥1880 (US$17.23)
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U Roy - Version Galore (2LP) (180g)
LP U Roy - Version Galore (2LP) (180g) Earmark UK/Trojan UK
  
¥3980 (US$36.47)
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U Roy - Version Galore (Jacket Damage)
LP U Roy - Version Galore (Jacket Damage) Treasure Isle UK
  
¥2180 ¥1760 (US$16.13)
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U Roy - Version Galore
LP U Roy - Version Galore Treasure Isle
  
¥3280 (US$30.05)
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Prince Jazzbo - Get Tonight Brother
LP Prince Jazzbo - Get Tonight Brother Clocktower CA
  
¥1780 ¥1429 (US$13.09)
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U Roy - Right Time Rockers: The Lost Channel One Album
LP U Roy - Right Time Rockers: The Lost Channel One Album Sound System US
  
¥2480 (US$22.72)
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U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa
LP U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa Virgin Front Line UK
  
¥2180 (US$19.97)
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U Roy - Rasta Ambassador
LP U Roy - Rasta Ambassador Virgin Front Line UK
¥2380 (US$21.81)
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U Roy - Serious Matter Dub (mixed by Gaylord Bravo)
LP U Roy - Serious Matter Dub (mixed by Gaylord Bravo) Walboomers EU
  
¥2180 (US$19.97)
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U Roy - Old School New Rules
LP U Roy - Old School New Rules Ariwa UK
  
¥2480 ¥1249 (US$11.44)
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U Roy, Sandra Cross - Smile A While
12" U Roy, Sandra Cross - Smile A While / U Roy, Yabby U - I'm A Rastaman Ariwa UK
  
¥1680 (US$15.39)
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U Roy - Revisit The Palace; Dub The Palace Crazy
12" U Roy - Revisit The Palace; Dub The Palace Crazy / U Roy - Fuego Chavez Fuego Ariwa UK Queen Majesty
  
¥1680 (US$15.39)
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Bob Marley, U Roy - Kingston 12 Shuffle; 12 Shuffle Version (Picture Sleeve)
10" Bob Marley, U Roy - Kingston 12 Shuffle; 12 Shuffle Version (Picture Sleeve) / Bob Marley - Trenchtown Rock; Grooving Kgn 12 Trax On Wax UK Trenchtown Rock
  
¥2580 (US$23.64)
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U Roy - Earth Quake
7" U Roy - Earth Quake / Upsetters - Shocks Of Mighty Upsetter US
  
¥840 (US$7.70)
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Carl Dawkins, U Roy - Get Together Part 2 (Combination Take)
7" Carl Dawkins, U Roy - Get Together Part 2 (Combination Take) Techniques Get Together
  
¥600 (US$5.50)
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U Roy - Dreamland
7" U Roy - Dreamland / Big Youth - Moving On Black Art UK Dreamland
  
¥900 (US$8.25)
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U Roy - Wet Vision
7" U Roy - Wet Vision / Glen Adams - Pleasant Dream Striker Lee Wet Dream
  
¥570 (US$5.22)
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U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way (Coloured Vinyl)
7" U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way (Coloured Vinyl) / Dennis Alcapone - Spanish Omega Inbidimts Old Fashion Way
  
¥900 (US$8.25)
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Heptones - Sweet For You Baby
7" Heptones - Sweet For You Baby / U Roy - Real Cool Blank UK/Phill Prat
  
¥1130 (US$10.35)
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U Roy - Real Cool
7" U Roy - Real Cool / Sunshot All Stars - Cool Cool Version Big Hit US (Org) Sweat For You Baby Info: Original Press
¥980 (US$8.98)
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U Roy - Hudson Affair (Colored Vinyl)
7" U Roy - Hudson Affair (Colored Vinyl) / Soul Syndicate - Bongo Red Rebind
  
¥600 (US$5.50)
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U Roy - Linger You Linger (Picture Sleeve)
7" U Roy - Linger You Linger (Picture Sleeve) Pressure Sounds UK/Mego-Ann
  
¥1120 (US$10.26)
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U Roy - Words Of Wisdom (Colored Vinyl)
7" U Roy - Words Of Wisdom (Colored Vinyl) Duke Reid Midnight Hour
  
¥570 ¥399 (US$3.66)
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U Roy - Joyful Locks
7" U Roy - Joyful Locks / King Tubby - Dub With It Clocktower NY
  
¥900 (US$8.25)
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U Roy - Train From West
7" U Roy - Train From West / Niney The Observer, Observer All Stars - Train From West Lotion Observer Westbound Train
  
¥900 (US$8.25)
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U Roy - Nana Banana
7" U Roy - Nana Banana GG's
  
¥570 ¥299 (US$2.74)
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U Roy - Creation Rebel
7" U Roy - Creation Rebel / I Roy - African Herbsman Jaguar UK B: African Roots
¥800 (US$7.33)
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U Roy - Lovers Rock
7" U Roy - Lovers Rock Black Roots UK Henry The Great
  
¥1180 (US$10.81)
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U Roy - Jah Jah Call You
7" U Roy - Jah Jah Call You Ujama Heavenless
  
¥900 (US$8.25)
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U Roy, Sister Audrey - True Born African (Press Miss: Skip)
7" U Roy, Sister Audrey - True Born African (Press Miss: Skip) / Mad Professor - African Dub Ariwa UK
  
¥980 (US$8.98)
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U Roy - Musical Addict
7" U Roy - Musical Addict Ujama/Prince Jazzbo Music Sensi Addict
  
¥700 (US$6.41)
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Beres Hammond, U Roy - Resistance
7" Beres Hammond, U Roy - Resistance Tappa Putting Up Resistance
  
¥600 (US$5.50)
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JC Lodge, U Roy - Satisfy My Soul
7" JC Lodge, U Roy - Satisfy My Soul Stars
  
¥570 (US$5.22)
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Alton Ellis, U Roy - I'm Still In Love
7" Alton Ellis, U Roy - I'm Still In Love / Rod Taylor, U Roy - Run Run Belleville Hill EU I'm Still In Love B: Run Run
  
¥980 (US$8.98)
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Beres Hammond, U Roy - Ain't That Lovin' You
7" Beres Hammond, U Roy - Ain't That Lovin' You Old To The New US Ain't That Loving You
  
¥840 (US$7.70)
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Tony Curtis, U Roy - Give Thanks For Life
7" Tony Curtis, U Roy - Give Thanks For Life / Screechie - Love Free Willy He Speaks
  
¥570 (US$5.22)
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U Roy, Helen Lindsay - Please Be True
7" U Roy, Helen Lindsay - Please Be True Junk Yard Please Be True
  
¥549 ¥499 (US$4.57)
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Mr. Vegas, Rayvon, U Roy, - Wear You To The Ball
7" Mr. Vegas, Rayvon, U Roy, - Wear You To The Ball / Brother Culture - Wear You To The Dance Flex EU Wear You To The Ball
  
¥980 (US$8.98)
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Alborosie, U Roy - Precious
7" Alborosie, U Roy - Precious Forward Promised Land/Love Fire
  
¥570 (US$5.22)
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Recent arrival(s)
U Roy - Dread In A Babylon
LP U Roy - Dread In A Babylon Get On Down UK
  
¥3980 (US$36.47)
BUY
Best selling CD(s)
U Roy - Hold On Rasta
CD U Roy - Hold On Rasta Clocktower CA
  
¥2180 ¥1980 (US$18.14)
BUY
U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa
CD U Roy - Jah Son Of Africa Virgin Front Line US
  
¥2480 ¥1580 (US$14.48)
BUY
U Roy - True Born African
CD U Roy - True Born African Ariwa UK
  
¥2380 ¥1880 (US$17.23)
BUY
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Best selling LP(s)
U Roy - Originator
LP U Roy - Originator Attack
  
¥1580 (US$14.48)
BUY
U Roy - I Am The Originator
LP U Roy - I Am The Originator Kingston Sounds UK/Jamaican Recordings UK
  
¥2880 ¥2580 (US$23.64)
BUY
U Roy - Old School New Rules
LP U Roy - Old School New Rules Ariwa UK
  
¥2480 ¥1249 (US$11.44)
BUY
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Best selling 10/12"(s)
Daddy Spencer - Weep And Mourn (Zion Train Vocal); (Zion Train Dub)
12" Daddy Spencer - Weep And Mourn (Zion Train Vocal); (Zion Train Dub) / U Roy, Don Goliath - Give Thanks To Jah (Vibronics Vocal); (Vibronics Dub) Digi. Signa UK
  
¥2180 ¥1680 (US$15.39)
BUY
Rod Taylor - Love Grows; Version
10" Rod Taylor - Love Grows; Version / U Roy - Acting Funny; Version Tu Sheng Peng EU
  
¥2080 ¥1580 (US$14.48)
BUY
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Best selling 7"(s)
Bob Marley, Wailers - Dreamland
7" Bob Marley, Wailers - Dreamland / U Roy - Dreamland Version Upsetter UK Dreamland
  
¥1180 (US$10.81)
BUY
Melodians - Everybody Bawling
7" Melodians - Everybody Bawling / U Roy - Everybody Bawling Treasure Isle UK Everybody Bawling
  
¥1180 (US$10.81)
BUY
U Roy - Lovers Rock
7" U Roy - Lovers Rock Black Roots UK Henry The Great
  
¥1180 (US$10.81)
BUY
Nora Dean - Angie La La
7" Nora Dean - Angie La La / U Roy - Tom Drunk Treasure Isle UK Crying Every Night - Stranger Cole
  
¥1180 (US$10.81)
BUY
Heptones - Sweet For You Baby
7" Heptones - Sweet For You Baby / U Roy - Real Cool Blank UK/Phill Prat
  
¥1130 (US$10.35)
BUY
>>more
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