Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell: Forward To Zion
- Words: Tomas Palermo
The music community is mourning the loss of another reggae great. Michael Campbell, also known as Mikey Dread, succumbed to a brain tumor on Saturday, March 15. He was 54. Campbell was a singer, producer, radio DJ, TV broadcaster, label owner, and performer whose career spanned nearly four decades. By all accounts, Campbell, who toured with and produced music with '80s rockers The Clash and vocalist alike, was an affable, down-to-earth person who possessed an infectious drive for life.
XLR8R paid tribute in 2007 on his radio broadcast’s 30th anniversary. Campbell had pioneered the use of jingles and sound effects on his Dread At The Controls radio program on the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation and played socially conscious roots reggae at a time when it was frowned upon. His many jingles and drops, including phrases like “Riddim Full A Culture” and “Is That A Turntable? Well Get On It!,” have been sampled by Coldcut, Public Enemy, and on scores of electronic dance singles.
Campbell recorded several highly regarded vocal and dub albums, including Pave The Way (Heartbeat), BeyondWorld War III (Heartbeat), Obsession (Ryko), and his 2007 recording Life Is A Stage. His dub albums, including Dubwise (DATC) and African Anthem (Auralux), are considered to be among the genre’s finest. Campbell also produced artists like Rod Taylor, Earl 16, and Edi Fitzroy, releasing their music and his own dub productions on his DATC label.
Campbell, who had been residing in Connecticut, is survived by two sons in Jamaica, a daughter who lives in Houston, TX, a son who lives in Canada, a daughter in Belize, and his four-month old son. Listen to his last recorded radio interview with podcaster Mama ASID at Bad Gals Radio.
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