b. Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Gayle began his musical career as a vocalist with Byron Lee And The Dragonaires. The singer performed with the group on the international circuit and in 1967 settled in Canada. While he continued to perform as part of the Dragonaires, Gayle also recorded a series of solo hits, notably a cover version of the Detroit Spinners’ ‘I’ll Be Around’ for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One in Jamaica. As a soloist Gayle released a series of local hits and in 1983 he was awarded a Juno. The award has since been acknowledged as a particularly notable achievement as Gayle was one of the first black artists to be recognised by the prestigious panel of adjudicators. His hit, ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’, was accredited as the Best Reggae Song at the awards, which resulted in the singer maintaining a high profile on the Canadian reggae circuit. In spite of his successful solo career Gayle continued to tour with the Dragonaires, where he performed a unique blend of soca and reggae primarily in North America. The singer has also supported artists such as, Barry White, Joe Tex and Jackie Mittoo. By the start of the millennium Gayle had built a solid reputation as a ‘big people’s singer’ with favoured tracks such as, ‘Follow Your Dreams’, ‘Give A Little More Love’ and ‘He Is My Friend’. His legendary status as one of the music’s pioneers was finally acknowledged when in 2001 the revival label Soul Jazz released Studio One Soul, featuring Gayle’s interpretation of ‘I’ll Be Around’.
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