Lloyd ‘Gitsy’ Willis died at age 73
Lloyd Oliver Willis Sr., in reggae circles known as the songwriter, guitar player, and producer Lloyd ‘Gitsy’ Willis, passed away on Monday 18th October 2021 in Portmore, St Catherine at the age of 73.
Lloyd ‘Gitsy’ Willis, who distinguished himself as part of the Treasure Isle group of musicians, saw producer Harry J releasing his album Gits Plays Bob Marley’s Greatest Hits in 1977. 20 years later it was followed by the various artists compilation Sly & Robbie, Gitsy & Taxi Gang Presents The Sound Of La Trenggae. Playing on countless singles and albums, ‘Gitsy’ contributed to a veritable Who’s Who of Reggae including the likes of Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, Alpha Blondy, Junior Reid, Culture, Yellowman, Jimmy Cliff, and many many more.
Probably his biggest success came when he initiated the now seminal Santa Barbara aka Bam Bam riddim with Sly Dunbar. It was that sound, infusing an Indian influence that resulted in the riddim that Chaka Demus & Pliers would deliver their 1992 hit song, Murder She Wrote, one of dancehall’s most enduring anthems. Since then the track has been sampled in at least 50 successful recordings garnering a number of hits and awards through the likes of Nicki Minaj, French Montana, Krept & Konan, Stefflon Don, DJ Khaled, and more. Last August, the 4 West Music label released a brand new album by Lloyd ‘Gitsy’ Willis’ entitled Kingston After Dark.