Ebenezer Obey was born on the 3rd of April 1942 as Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi in Idogo, Nigeria. He has been nicknamed the “Chief Commander”, and is a Nigerian jùjú musician. Obey is of a Yoruba ethnic background. He is of the Owu subgroup of the Egba. His musical talent was recognized early on when he was asked to lead the band at his Methodist Primary School.He began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos
In the 1960s, Ebenezer Obey became one of the most popular, prolific, and influential musicians in Nigeria, releasing over fifty albums, developing juju style, and conducting an informal and highly creative campaign against his competitors in the musical world. After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar’s band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife–jùjú fusion. A slow music composed of layered guitars and Yoruban percussion sounds. Always a cultural and religious traditionalist, Obey worked within the praise song mold, vaunting both Christianity and the various heads of state for whom he played. But while his lyrics were traditional, his musical direction was highly innovative. They had a hit juju single “Ewa Wowun Ojumi Ri.” Though juju had been around for a while it was still highly influenced by Ghanaian highlife. Obey modernized the sound by adding the funkiness of Yoruban drumming, more Western-style guitars and drum-kits, and added multiple talking drums, where only one had been used before. That was the beginning of modern juju. As he says: “It’s like cooking a soup. If you put in many different ingredients, it tastes richer and better” In 1966, Obey’s chief juju rival, King Sunny Ade came on the scene, and they still maintain a friendly rivalry today.
The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early 1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label. In an effort to rise above his competition, Obey began to develop new musical “systems,” adding as many as 20 new musicians to his ensemble at a time, extending the length of his album tracks, and pumping out hit after hit. A stylish and bluesy guitarist whose music had been contagious in Nigeria for years, Obey finally enjoyed international success in 1980 with Current Affairs.
Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. Obey’s musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. As is characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excel in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons. Obey, however, is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry.
A brief discography as sourced form Wikipedia.com
- 1964 Ewa Wo Ohun Ojuri
- 1965 Aiye Gba Jeje b/w Ifelodun*Gari Ti Won b/w Orin Adura
- 1966 Awolowo Babawa Tide b/w Oluwa Niagbara Emi Mi*Palongo b/w Teti Ko Gboro Kan*Oro Miko Lenso b/w Orin Ajinde*Late Justice Olumide Omololu b/w Iyawo Ti Mo Ko Fe
- 1967 Olomi Gbo Temi b/w Maria Odeku*To Keep Nigeria One b/w Awa Sope Odun Titun*Edumare Lon Pese b/w Omo Olomo*Ope Fun Oluwa b/w Paulina
- 1968 Ore Mi E Si Pelepele b/w Ajo Ni Mo wa*Ijebu L’ade b/w Lati Owolabi*Col. Ben Adekunle b/w Ori Bayemi*Lolade Wilkey b/w Adetunji Adeyi*Gbe Bemi Oluwa b/w Olowo Laiye Mo
- 1969 Ode To Nso Eledumare b/w Pegan Pegan*Sanu-olu b/w K’Oluwa So Pade Wa*London Lawa Yi b/w Oro Seniwo*Isokan Nigeria / etc.*Eni Mayo Ayo / etc1969/1970*Emi Yio Gbe Oluwa Ga b/w Ise Teni
- 1970 Lawyer Adewuyi*Ala Taja Bala b/w Ohun Toluwa Ose*Ogun Pari / etc.*In London*On The Town
- 1971 Ija Pari (Part One) b/w Ija Pari (Part Two)*Esa Ma Miliki b/w Awon Alhaji*Face to Face b/w Late Rex Lawson*Oro Nipa Lace b/w Yaro Malaika
- 1972 Late Oba Gbadelo II*Board Members*Vol.4: Aiye Wa A Toro*In London Vol. 3*Odun Keresimesi
- 1973 And His Miliki Sound*The Horse, The Man and His Son*E Je Ka Gbo T’Oluwa*Adeventure of Mr. Music*Mo Tun Gbe De
- 1974 Inter-Reformers A Tunde*Eko Ila*Around the World*Iwalka Ko Pe
- 1975 Mukulu Muke Maa Jo*Ota Mi Dehin Lehin Mi*Alo Mi Alo*Edumare Dari Jiwon
- 1976 Late Great Murtara Murtala Ramat Muhammed*Operation Feed The Nation
- 1977 Eda To Mose Okunkun*Immortal Sings for Travellers*Adam and Eve
- 1978 Igba Owuro Lawa*Oluwa Ni Olusa Aguntan Mi*No Place Be Like My Country Nigeria
- 1979 In the Sixties Vol.1*In the Sixties Vol.2*Igba Laiye*Sky*E Wa Kiye Soro Mi*Omo Mi Gbo Temi
- 1980 Leave Everything to God*Current Affairs*Sound of the Moment*Eyi Yato
- 1981 Joy of Salvation*What God Has Joined Together
- 1982 Celebration*Austerity*Precious Gift
- 1983 Ambition*Singing for the People*Greatest Hits Vol. 3*Je Ka Jo*Thank You (Ose)
- 1984 The Only Condition to Save Nigeria*Solution*Peace1985*Security*My Vision
- 1986 Gbeja Mi Eledumare*Satisfaction*Providence
- 1987 Aimasiko*Immortality*Victory*Patience
- 1988 Determination*Vanity
- 1989 Formula 0-1-0*Get Yer Jujus Out
- 1990 Count Your Blessing*On the Rock
- 1991 Womanhood
- 1993 Good News
- 1994 I Am a Winner*Walking Over (1994?)
- 1995 The Legend
- 1999 Millennial Blessings
- 2000 Promised Land
- 2002 Ase Oluwa
Obey married Juliana Olaide Olufade in 1963. His wife, known as Lady Evangelist Juliana Obey-Fabiyi, died at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital on 23 August 2011, aged 67.
They have several children and grand children. In 2017 he gave out the hand of his grand daughter in marriage.