Veteran Singer, Songwriter Bob Andy Dies In Jamaica

JUST AS news was sinking in that the British reggae music fraternity had lost one of its stalwarts in Delroy Washington, news soon emerged  that veteran Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter Keith ‘Bob Andy’ Anderson had died at his home in Stony Hill in St Andrew, Jamaica on Friday, March 27, the same day as Washington.

Anderson, 76, had been ailing for some time and his close friend Glory Music principal, Tommy Cowan, confirmed to The Gleaner  newspaper in Jamaica, that Anderson had passed away peacefully at home in St Andrew.

Cowan said: “I have spoken to the family and they confirmed he died peacefully. He was not in any pain. His daughter, Bianca, was by his bedside, and so too was her mother.”

The Gleaner reported that news broke last Wednesday that the entertainer, who had been battling cancer for some years, was gravely ill.


Bob Andy, whose career spanned several decades, was best known for the major UK hit song, Young, Gifted and Black which he recorded with Marcia Griffiths as the duo Bob and Marcia.

The song held the No. 2 slot on the British charts in 1970 and this was followed by the duet’s UK top-20 hit, ‘Pied Piper’, and two albums, which triggered an extensive European promotional tour by the duo.

Throughout his entire career, Andy had been well known, not only for his songwriting, but for his zero-tolerance approach to injustice, which he preached in his recordings and demonstrated in real life. Although he penned several sentimental love songs, it was his revolutionary songs which stood out most.

His humility, wit, and revolutionary stance could be felt as far back as his Studio One days when he had cuts like ‘Let Them Say’Life Could Be A Symphony, and Unchained, which gave full expression to the freedom he was searching for, being a runaway child.

DUO: Andy with Marcia Griffiths

His popular song Fire Burning in 1974 produced by Lloyd Charmers contained his most enduring message. The lyrics were so ‘hot’ that owner of Federal Records, Richard Khouri, was hesitant in putting it out. It, however, defied the odds and the song went straight to No.1 that year and became a revolutionary anthem against injustice.

Perhaps there is no other recording where the fight against injustice is more pronounced than in the self-produced, mid-1970s recording, Check It Out. In it, Andy mercilessly chastises the establishment, while putting his songwriting skills on display.


Many international music journalists showered praises on his songwriting talent calling him Jamaica’s greatest living music writer. He was the man behind many big hits for Jamaican artists including Marcia Griffiths who had Fire Burning, Really Together, Truly, Mark My Word, Melody Life and Tell Me Now.

He also wrote hits songs for Delroy Wilson with Impossible, Ken Boothe’s I Don’t Want To See You Cry, Gregory Isaacs Sun Shines For Me’ Sanchez’S Unchaine’, Dennis Brown It’s Impossible,  Wayne Wonder and Ruddy Thomas’ Feeling Soul and Winston Francis Too Experienced.

“A lot of people talk about great musicians who have come out of Jamaica, but to me Bob Andy was one of the greatest”

Winston Francis

The Jamaican government rewarded Bob Andy in October 2006 with a national honour, the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander for his contributions to the development of Jamaican music.

In paying tribute to Andy, UK reggae singer Winston Francis said: “I last saw Bob Andy in 2015 when we worked on a show together in Belguim. In the morning after we had breakfast, we both went for an exercise walk and we had a beautiful conversation reminiscing about the old days at Studio One and also when he first sang with the Paragons before he was replaced in the group by John Holt and we had a good laugh.

Source: Veteran singer, songwriter Bob Andy dies in Jamaica – Voice Online

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