Pivotal reggae innovator Danny Sims dies

The entire music fraternity is mourning another icon and achiever.

However, in Jamaica reggae music lovers are grieving the death of one of the genre’s most devoted pioneers, Danny Sims.

Reportedly, the 72-year-old reggae devotee died from colon cancer in Los Angeles, California on Oct. 3.

Born in Mississippi but raised in Chicago and New York City, Sims’ name is synonymous with the rise of Bob Marley and The Wailers. His dedication to the music and reputation with the U.S. music industry allegedly enabled Marley to penetrate the U.S. market.

Sims entered the entertainment business in the late 1950s.

Less than a decade later as manager of Johnny Nash, the top pop/reggae artist in the world, Sims was able to maneuver his way around the major record labels and throughout the entertainment industry.

At the time the Texan was signed to CBS Records. There with the biggest names in the recording included Sly & The Family Stones and other major r&b names, Nash scored winners singing reggae-tinged hits “I Can See Clearly Now,” “Hold Me Tight” and “Stir It Up.”

He was the first non-Jamaican to record reggae music on the Caribbean island.

In 1965, Sims and Nash were titans of the industry and together formed JAD Records.

They even settled in Jamaica.

After meeting Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, in 1967 they produced and signed the Wailers to a five-year contract with the label. In addition, Sims also signed the trio to his Cayman Music Publishing Company.

Sims’ influence landed them bookings in Europe.

However, just before the end of the deal, in 1972, Sims sold the remainder of the contract to Island Records president Chris Blackwell.

Sims annually brokered many international deals for reggae artists at MIDEM, the music industry’s global marketplace for buying and selling distribution.

He moved to South Africa and later London, England but maintained a U.S. base in California.

After a hiatus while Don Taylor managed Marley, he later reunited with the Rastafarian legend and became his manager shortly before his death in 1981.

From his 1968 vaults, Sims retrieved “Soul Almighty,” a collection of unreleased Marley songs. The 1996 collection fueled by the single “What Goes Around Comes Around” reignited a wave of interest in Marley music.

Sims last visited Jamaica in April for the premiere of the documentary “Marley.”