CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Sept. 3, 2009: Dwayne McKay, founder of the popular Steelie Bashment, the NYC-based, Jamaican oriented sound system, is among those voicing sadness at the passing of Wycliffe `Steely` Johnson.
Johnson, of Steely and Clevie fame, died this week at a New York hospital after suffering from pneumonia having recovered from kidney complications in December. Johnson started his career as the original keyboard player with the Roots Radix Band which backed Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Wailer and numerous other artistes both on tour and in the recording studio, and also played on a number of hit recordings for various producers in the 70s, according to the Jamaica Observer.
He also played on a large number of hit recordings for various artistes and together with Clevie Brownie, claimed to be the pioneers of dancehall.
Johnson is also credited for signature sounds like the Punanny Rhythm, the Street Sweeper Rhythm, Skettel, Nine Night, Sniper and Sleepy Dog among others.
He was also part of the genius behind dancehall classics like Shabba`s `Ting-A-Ling,` and `Twice My Age;` `Sorry` by Foxy Brown; `Double Trouble` by Beres Hammond; `Boops` by Supercat; `Murder Dem` by Ninja Man; `Ram Dancehall` by Tiger; `Hot Gyal Today` by Sean Paul & Vegas among others.
`I am deeply saddened by the passing of Wycliffe `Steely` Johnson,` said McKay in a statement. `His passing is a tremendous loss to the Dancehall industry, and a tremendous loss to me personally — Steely is the man who sparked my love of music and inspired me to be a selector.
`Talk to anyone who grew up with me, and they`ll tell you that I idolized Steely from Silver Hawk Sound. When I struggling to establish myself as a selector in the early days, I adopted the name `Steelie` with the goal to one day have my own sound and be at the top of the game — like Steely.`