Pat Kelly, whose distinctive falsetto earned him hit songs as a solo act and member of The Techniques, died on July 16 in Kingston. 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.