R.I.P. 'Jamaica to Toronto' Star Wayne McGhie
Published Jul 21, 2017Sadly, Canadian reggae musician Wayne McGhie — one of the stars of Light in the Attic's celebrated Jamaica to Toronto compilation — has died. McGhie passed away yesterday afternoon (July 20) in his home in Toronto, LITA reports, after a series of health issues. His exact age is unclear, but McGhie would have been 69 or 70 years old at the time of his death.
McGhie was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1947, but moved to Canada in the 1970s, when he soon began to call Toronto home. A pair of his tracks were included on Light in the Attic's 2006 compilation Jamaica to Toronto: Soul, Funk & Reggae 1967 - 1974 — 1969's "Fire (She Need Water)" and 1974's "Here We Go Again," which closed the comp.
Along with appearing on Jamaica to Toronto, McGhie's 1970 album with the Sounds of Joy simply titled Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy was reissued by LITA. You can read Exclaim!'s review of it here.
While much of McGhie's past remains a mystery, Vancouver-based music historian Kevin Howes (a.k.a. Sipreano), who assembled the Jamaica to Toronto comp (as well as LITA's Native North America series) has penned a touching obit on his blog. You can read it below and check out more of Howes' writing about McGhie over here.
This afternoon, I was notified that Jamaican-Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Wayne McGhie had passed away after a series of compounding health complications at his home in Toronto. I have been asked by his sister and care giver Merline to let the music world know of his physical death, an honour which I do not take lightly. Wayne is heavily responsible for my career in writing and music and I have been made to feel a part of his family since our initial meeting in 2003. At the time of its release in 1970, The Sounds Of Joy was ignored by the Canadian music industry and mass media and despite selling limited quantities, he pushed forward throughout the 1970s writing, producing, performing, and arranging. Confronted with serious mental health issues, Wayne went missing and retreated from playing music professionally in the early-to-mid-1980s. I first heard Wayne's music in the 1990s as a DJ in Vancouver, British Columbia. His Wayne McGhie & The Sounds Of Joy record had become sought after in the underground sample-based hip-hop world and celebrated by obscure funk and soul music collectors worldwide. Captivated by its quality, I longed to find an elusive copy. It took me years to find one. Along with Light in the Attic co-owner Matt Sullivan and fellow Montego Bay-born singer Jay Douglas, I connected with Wayne and his family in late 2003 during preparation for the first official reissue of his Wayne McGhie & The Sounds of Joy LP. Armed with a portable turntable and a stack of vinyl records, it was an emotional gathering for everyone in the room. Tears were shed (as they are today). A true pioneer of Jamaican and Canadian music has moved on. May your mind, body, and soul be free...
I love you Wayne,