BORN : 1956
DIED : JAN 25TH 2012
Veteran deejay, producer and label owner Errol Scorcher has passed away in Spanish Town Hospital, St Catherine, on Thursday 19th January 2012. He had been in the hospital since Tuesday after collapsing at his St Catherine home. The cause of his death was a ruptured blood vessel in his head. On many reggae websites and even in Colin Larkin’s book “The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae” he has been listed as dead since 1982. This was caused by the death of a lesser known deejay by the name of Errol Shorter, who was shot and killed in that year.
Born Errol Archer in the parish of St Catherine, Jamaica, in 1956, Errol Scorcher began his career as a deejay in the early 70s performing for a number of sound systems, where he cultivated his unique style. Although his debut single entitled “Leggo Mi Hand Babylon” wasn’t very successful, it did manage to garner him some attention in the dancehall. This initial disappointment did not deter him, and his perseverance came to fruition when he released a series of hit singles through the mid-70s. These included the popular “Jolly Bus Ting” and “Engineers Affair”. In 1978 his notoriety was raised further when his single “Peace Truce” (on Culture’s “Stop This Fussing And Fighting” riddim) was released. The tune extolled the armistice between rival political factions in Western Kingston on 11th January 1978, that would culminate in the One Love Peace Concert, which featured the legendary return of Bob Marley to the Jamaican stage.
In the same year he teamed up with Nicodemus, Nigger Kojak and Mother Liza on the Tapetone Sound System, widely acknowledged as King Jammy’s first dancehall venture. Errol Scorcher got the breakthrough he was seeking in 1979, when he released the popular “Roach Inna Di Corner” on the “Real Rock” riddim. It catapulted him into the spotlight and made him a dancehall staple on many top events. He followed up the success of “Roach Inna Di Corner” with the single “Frog In A Water” on the then hot “My Conversation” riddim (on which the original Slim Smith vocal is heard behind Scorcher). By 1980 he embarked on a series of recording sessions with Ansell Collins, resulting in the renowned “Mosquitoes”, which describes the deejay’s love-hate relationship with Jamaican insect-life. The hit led to Errol Scorcher forming his own label for the release of “Rope In” and “DJ Spirit”, as well as Tony Tuff’s “Hustling”. By 1982 he was regarded as a veteran, although he had hits with “Rude Bwoy Step”, “Letting Go” and the Winston Riley produced “Wife & Sweetheart” on the “Johnny Dollar” riddim. The fact that he was listed dead in 1982, when he was in the heights of his career, was one of the reasons that little was heard of Errol Scorcher in the years that followed.
In the summer of 2010 he reportedly was back in the studio, working on new tunes and a new album (featuring tunes such as “Borrow Man”, “Bad Mind” and “Gospel Medley”) due to be released later that year. He also had set up his own Upsetter Sound in order to “give a lot of upcoming artistes a ‘buss’ while we try to inject positive energy.”