Winston Riley Dies

January 21, 2012 by staff 

Winston Riley Dies, WINSTON Riley, the singer/producer whose career spanned 50 years, died Thursday evening at the University Hospital of the West Indies. He was 65 years old.

Kurt Riley, one of Riley’s children, told the Observer that his father had been hospitalised since last November when he was shot in the head at his St Andrew home.

Riley had been in an induced coma and had briefly come off life support, his son said.

The police have made no arrest in the incident which came months after Riley’s landmark store, Techniques record store on Orange Street, downtown Kingston, was destroyed by fire.

Kingsley Goodison honoured Riley for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music at the 2009 staging of his Tribute To The Greats awards ceremony. He described him as an ‘unsung hero’ of the local music business.

“He really produced some outstanding songs. Very few people in the business worked harder than Winston Riley,” Goodison said.

Four years ago, Riley established a museum dedicated to the history of Jamaican pop music in downtown Kingston.

Born in the west Kingston community of Denham Town, Winston Riley started his career in the early 1960s as a performer on the Vere Johns Opportunity Hour. In 1964, he became a member of harmony group, The Techniques, which recorded for producer Arthur ‘Duke’ Reid’s Treasure Isle label.

Led by the gifted singer, Keith ‘Slim’ Smith, the original Techniques line-up had hits in the ska era with Little Did You Know. The group excelled when ska evolved into rock steady, becoming one of the genre’s top acts.

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