Legendary record producer Bunny Lee dies aged 79

Kimberley Bond
·2-min read
Rex Features
Rex Features

Record producer Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee has died, it has been reported.

The Jamaican-born reggae star’s death was confirmed by music journalist Ted Kessler, who wrote about his memories with the producer on Twitter.

“Sad to learn the mighty Bunny Lee has passed,” he wrote. “He came to the 2018 Q Awards with the Trojan mob wearing a sailor's cap and a pair of sliders.

“He delivered a very, very long speech and charmed everyone. He held my hand for about ten minutes. A genius producer. RIP Bunny Lee.”

He appeared at the Q Awards (PA)
He appeared at the Q Awards (PA)

The cause of death for Lee, whose real name Edward O’Sullivan Lee, is currently unknown.

Having joined Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label in 1962, Lee started producing and financing records for himself, working with legends including Roy Shirley, Slim Smith, The Uniques and The Sensations.

He is also considered a pioneer on the UK reggae market, working with Johnny Clarke, Owen Gray and Cornell Campbell.

Lee was unorthodox in his approach at the time, reportedly reusing rhythms and tracks with singers and DJs as Lee did not have his own studio.

Several prominent figures have paid tribute to Lee, while Channel 4 dedicated an episode of 1982 documentary Deep Roots to him.

In 2008 he was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government in recognition of his contribution to Jamaican music.

Bunny had one son, Errol, who he shares with singer Marlene Webber.

Upon news of his death, BBC 1Xtra reggae DJ David Rodigan wrote: “The Reggae world has lost another iconic figure; Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee was unquestionably one of the most charismatic and inspirational record producers in Jamaican music with a phenomenal catalogue of hits.

“He drove the music forward across the decades and will be sorely missed."

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