Singer behind reggae standards “54-46 Was My Number,” “Pressure Drop,” “Funky Kingston” and “Monkey Man” succumbs to coronavirus complications
Toots Hibbert, an influential and veteran Jamaican ska and reggae singer and founding father of the band the Maytals, has died. He was 77. The explanation for death is so far unclear though he had been recently tested for Covid-19.
A statement from his family released on Sept. 11 reads: “It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert gave up the ghost peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.
The family and his management team would really like to thank the medical teams and professionals for his or her care and diligence, and ask that you simply respect their privacy during their time of grief.”
The youngest of seven children, Hibbert’s parents were both Seventh-Day Adventist ministers and he grew up singing in church. He moved to the country’s capital of Kingston as an adolescent and formed the primary version of the Maytals within the early 1960s. Over the subsequent 10 years the group recorded with a series of producers that reads sort of a reggae hall of fame: Coxsone Dodd, Prince Buster, Byron Lee, Leslie Kong — and reeled off Hibbert compositions like “Bam Bam,” “Sweet and Dandy” and “54-46 That’s My Number,” which was inspired by a mid-‘60s sentence he served for marijuana possession.
Hibbert was one among the first proponents of reggae within the late 1960s and scored successful with the song “Do the Reggay.” actually , he’s credited with giving reggae its name when he christened the 1968 song.
He was a up to date and friend of Bob Marley’s, and for several years both were signed to Island Records. Speaking with the Jamaica Observer in 2018, Hibbert spoke of sharing bills with Marley’s band, the Wailers, in their youth . “Sometimes the Maytals would close, sometimes The Wailers would close the show. We had no problems, no professional jealousy, we were all excellent friends,” he said. “Out of all folks though, me an’ Bob were excellent friends. it had been out of 1 of these conversations that I did the song ‘Marley.’ He was telling me that he was getting to be a dreadlocks Rasta an’ I laughed an’ said, ‘I want to be a comb-locks’ Rasta like Selassie I’ an’ he laughed, a bit like the words within the actual song,” he said
The two both had hits with different songs called “Redemption Song,” featured on his first album for Island, “Funky Kingston.”
“When I did ‘Redemption Song’ in 1972, it went favorite [in Jamaica],” Hibbert recalled. “Marley said he would do a ‘Redemption Song’ also . He used an identical rhythm but different lyrics.” Marley’s version of the song appeared on the ultimate album released during his lifetime, “Uprising.”
Also in 1972, Hibbert appeared within the groundbreaking film “The Harder they are available ,” which starred Jimmy Cliff. His 1969 “Pressure Drop” was featured on the film’s soundtrack and was covered by the Clash in 1978, introducing Hibbert to thousands of latest listeners.
A seemingly permanent presence in reggae music, Hibbert continued to tour and record through the years, appearing on Willie Nelson’s 2005 album “Countryman” and covering Radiohead’s “Let Down” for a set of reggae Radiohead covers. He even joined the hotdog Chili Peppers onstage for a performance of “Louie Louie” during a 2011 New Year’s Eve party in St. Barts thrown by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
In 2013 he was injured when a thrown bottle hit him within the head during a performance in Virginia. He missed several shows but ended up asking the judge to offer the young man who threw the bottle a light-weight sentence.”He may be a young man, and that i have heard what happens to young men in jail,” he wrote during a letter to the judge. “My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect.” the person received a six-month sentence.
Hibbert was hospitalized just days after the discharge of his and therefore the Maytals’ first album in additional than a decade, “Got to Be Tough.” The album was co-produced by Zak Starkey, and features contributions from Starkey’s father, Starr , also as Ziggy Marley, Sly Dunbar and Cyril Neville (read Variety‘s review).
“I’m very pleased with what I’ve done and therefore the love I’ve given,” Hibbert told Rolling Stone of the album. “But it’s getting harder and harder to offer the love the people need, and that they need it now quite ever. No time to waste.”
On Sept. 2, it had been revealed that Hibbert was in stable but serious condition during a private medical facility in Jamaica. He was tested for Covid-19 although the results haven’t been announced.
Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years, Miss D, and his seven of eight children.
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