U Roy's been at it for a long time. Since 1969, he has been a constant in reggae. With most of his contemporaries long retired, he continues to record and perform on a regular basis. He, of course, is the epitome of a reggae DJ/toaster. So much so that, despite not being the first, he's often referred to as "The Originator" (a title that he shrugs off).
He was born Ewart Beckford in 1942 (U Roy came from a young relative's mispronunciation of his name). He started out just introducing the records at Jamaican sound systems (King Tubby's among them). After a couple years of performing, John Holt brought him to the attention of Duke Reid, former cop turned producer and label owner (Treasure Isle). U Roy quickly hit his stride, and in 69-70, he was the man. At one point, he had four of the top five records on the charts in Jamaica. After that, he just kept going, and going.
Here is a very awesome, very early clip. Surprisingly good guality too:
Below are a few songs, representing different periods in his career. The first "Dynamic Fashion Way," besides having an awesome title, is among his very first. The second is from the big breakthrough "Version Galore" LP, right about when he had all the hits. The next two are both from the landmark "Dread In a Babylon" LP, from '75. The final two are newish, and have a lot electronic gizmos going on. He's strayed a little, and on "Lovers Rock" I can deal. But, with "Luv n' Live," despite enjoying the comfort of hearing his voice, I gotta pass. There's just too much tweaking and not enough of U Roy.
~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~Early:
U Roy - Dynamic Fashion Way mp3 at Motel de Moka
U Roy - Your Ace From Outer Space mp3 at Clumsy and Shy
U Roy - Runaway Girl mp3 at Tous les jours la grande chose
U Roy - Chalice in the Palace mp3 (via DivShare) at Flea Market Funk
U Roy (with Love Trio) - Lovers Rock mp3 at Augasm
U Roy (with Dub Gabriel) - Luv n' Liv (remix) mp3 at Music2Ten
U Roy bio at Answers.com
U Roy at MySpace
U-Roy Wakes The Town (profile) at the Gleaner (Jamaica)