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Mikey Dread (1954-2008)
Published March 18, 2008

By Charissa Che

Renowned reggae performer and radio broadcaster Mikey Dread passed away on March 15, 2008 after a long illness.

Renowned radio DJ, artist, producer, and TV host Mikey Dread, died on March 15, 2008. He passed away at the age of 54, after a six-month battle with a brain tumor.


Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica, Dread made a name for himself in Britain as a producer of the Clash he produced the band's single “Bankrobber” and contributed to several songs on their album Sandinista! He toured with the Clash in Britain, Europe and the US, helping to introduce reggae into the mainstream. By this time, he was already an award-winning broadcaster in Jamaica and a well-known dreadlocked reggae performer. His first single, the humorous “Barber Saloon,” was a local sensation due to Campbell's hybrid blend of rapping and singing, which became known as the "sing-jay" style in Jamaica.


Most notably, Dread made a name for himself in the 1970s as the host of the radio show, “Dread At The Controls” at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). The show came into fruition after Dread had convinced staff at the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation to allow him to present a four-hour program, starting at midnight, six nights a week. It featured only Jamaican music, instead of the foreign material which dominated the airwaves at the time. He later used this platform as a launchpad for his debut record release and his own record company. Both a performer and broadcaster, Dread later went on to become a familiar figure on British television, presenting reggae shows and narrating documentaries about Jamaican music in the 1980s.


Dread is survived by his wife Monika, their infant son, Zylen, and five children from previous relationships.