R.I.P.: Legendary Reggae Producer Joe Gibbs Dead At 65
- Words: Tomas Palermo
Joe Gibbs (born Joel A. Gibson), the producer responsible for Culture’s Two Sevens Clash, Althea & Donna’s “Uptown Top Ranking,” Trinity’s “Three Piece Suit,” and Dennis Brown’s “Money In My Pocket,” died last week of a heart attack. He was 65. Gibbs left an indelible mark on reggae music and his hits are staples at reggae dances to this day.
In addition to his pioneering vocal productions with artists, including Jacob Miller, Sylford Walker, The Mighty Diamonds, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Alla, and Junior Byles, Gibbs also produced the five-part African Dub series, which was recently reissued on VP’s 17 North Parade label.
17 North Parade A&R Fidel Luna states, "The legendary Joe Gibbs, to me, is one of the most humble, straightforward, and pleasant people I have ever encountered in the music business. His contributions to reggae as a hit-making producer and distributor are truly second to none." Joe Gibbs, and the late Errol Thompson, had an exclusive worldwide agreement with 17 North Parade to re-release his complete catalog, including the Barrington Levy Collection (Apr. 26), Joe Gibbs Reggae Anthology (May 2008), and many more.
Gibbs’s many releases span the late '60s and early '70s rocksteady era, and through the early and mid-'80s dancehall and rub-a-dub periods. Times changed, but Gibbs always had memorable hits, like “Gregory’s Free,” Yellowman’s ode to Gregory Isaacs’ release from prison.
Gibbs is survived by sons Rocky and Gibbo. Carl 'Rocky' Gibbs, based in New York, was the first to reissue the elder Gibbs’ music on his Rocky One label. Younger son Stephen “Gibbo” Gibbs, also a producer, scored a massive hit with his 2004 Hard Times riddim (made famous by I-Wayne’s “Living In Love”).
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