Pat Kelly (1949 – 16 July 2019) was a reggae singer whose career began in the late 1960s.
Pat Kelly, whose distinctive falsetto earned him hit songs as a solo act
and member of The Techniques, died on July 16, 2019 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Anthony “Chips” Richards, his friend of over 45 years, confirmed his passing.
Kelly, who was in his early 70s, succumbed to complications of kidney disease.
Richards, a former executive at Trojan Records in the United Kingdom, said he first met Kelly in that country during the early 1970s. At the time, the singer was riding high on the hit songs the Phill Pratt-produced Talk About Love and How Long, produced by Bunny Lee.
“He was a very humble, well-mannered and disciplined man. This is a big loss for the music industry,” said Richards.
It was Lee who first recorded Kelly, his former schoolmate, in the mid-1960s. Shortly after, his career took off as a member of rocksteady group The Techniques who were part of producer Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label.
With The Techniques, Kelly sang lead on hits like I Wish it Would Rain and Love Is Not A Gamble.
In the 1990s, he was part of a revived Techniques alongside former members Johnny Johnson and Lloyd Parks.
Kelly had cut back on live dates in 2017 due to illness, but on his return in 2018, performed at Reggae Geel in Belgium, as well as club dates in South Florida and Southern California.
Pat Kelly was also a trained audio engineer with a degree in audio electronics from the Massachusetts College of Technology. He worked on recording sessions for Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson and Johnny Clarke.
Kelly was born in Kingston in 1949. After leaving school, he spent a year studying electronics in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States during 1966, before returning to Jamaica.
Kelly's falsetto voice, strongly influenced by the American soul singer Sam Cooke, in combination with Winston Riley and Bruce Ruffin, maintained the success that The Techniques had enjoyed with Smith.
The Techniques first record with Kelly, "You Don't Care", adapted from Curtis Mayfield's "You'll Want Me Back", spent six weeks at number one in the Jamaican singles chart, and was followed by further hits with "Queen Majesty", "My Girl", "Love Is Not a Gamble", "It's You I Love", and "Run Come Celebrate".