Osbourne Ruddock was born January 28, 1941 in Jamaica. He died on February 6, 1989.
As a boy Osbourne developed a fascination with technical, particularly electronic things. His career as a radio and tv repairman began in the late 1950s. The nickname "Tubby" referred to his proficiency with tube amplifiers.
With the birth and growth of sound systems, came the need for an accomplished electronic repairman. One day a sound system operator approached Osbourne for help with a repair. Soon after he was repairing sound systems all over Kingston.
Osbourne spent years working on other people's sound systems, but by 1964 he was ready to start his own: Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi. This sound system quickly became a crowd favorite due to uber sound quality, exclusive releases, and Tubby's sound effects, which at that point were something of a novelty.
King Tubby's musical journey continued when producer Duke Reid offered him a job at his Treasure Isle studio as a disc cutter. Remixing records was already a common skill in Jamaica. But King Tubby took the remix concept to a whole new level: he started stripping out not only the vocals, but cutting up instrumental parts, dropping them in and out of the tracks, adding new effects and sounds, while also making use of phasing, shifts, and echoes. Many of these audio experiments were pressed onto acetate dubplates and spun at Tubby's sound system. These stripped-down tracks were integral to the rise of the DJs. U-Roy, I-Roy, and Big Youth were just a few of the stars who performed at Tubby's Hometown Hi-Fi.
In 1971, King Tubby took another leap forward and opened his own studio. There, the experiments continued as the remixer turned engineer moved into the area of studio effects. Tubby's studio quickly became a favorite for artists like Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry, Prince Tony Robinson, and Glen Brown. The King began turning out remixes in prolific numbers. Bunny Lee kept him busy with a constant stream of singles to remix and a batch were released in 1974 as the seminal "Dub From The Roots" album.
Throughout the early '70s, the remixer's experiments had swiftly evolved into pure dub. His remixes were no longer a remix at all, but a total reinvention of the song. Major change occurred in 1973 when Tubby purchased a second four-track, allowing him to record vocals. The new setup was inaugurated with Roy Shirley's "Stepping Razor" that same year.
By the end of the '70s, King Tubby had turned his attention to teaching and training a new generation of engineers and producers. His apprentices included Scientist, Prince Jammy, and Prince Philip Smart, among others. Tubby continued creating new mixes, but at a slower rate.
By the mid-'80s, the King had shifted into production, and released a stream of seminal singles by the likes of Sugar Minott and Anthony Red Rose.
In 1989 King Tubby was murdered outside of his home in Waterhouse.
Sadly, this tragic crime has never been solved. Osbourne Ruddock aka "King Tubby" lived in Jamaica his entire life.
In the years since his death, King Tubby's renown has only grown. As time has passed even more material has come to light and rare, limited release albums have become readily available.