The musician had been examined for coronavirus, however the reason for dying was not acknowledged.

Toots Hibbert, frontman of the legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytals, has died on the age of 77.

One in every of Jamaica’s most influential musicians, he helped popularise reggae within the Nineteen Sixties with songs like Stress Drop, Monkey Man and Funky Kingston.

He even claimed to have coined the style’s identify, on 1968’s Do The Reggay.

Hibbert’s household stated he had died on Friday. The trigger was not disclosed, however he had not too long ago been taken to hospital with Covid-like signs.

The musician was later positioned in a medically induced coma, and a spokesman stated the musician was “preventing for his life.”

A charismatic and soulful performer, Hibbert scored 31 primary singles in Jamaica.

Due to his full-throated vocals, he was also known as “The Otis Redding of Reggae” – however he was all the time Toots.

Barbershop beginnings

The musician was born in Might Pen, a city about 30 Miles west of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, in December 1942.

The youngest of seven kids, he grew up singing gospel music in a church choir – but it surely was college the place he fashioned his ambition to change into a performer.

“We needed to sing earlier than class, sing within the morning,” he instructed BBC 6 Music in 2018. “And instructor stated, ‘Yeah, you’ve gotten the most effective voice,’ and gave me good encouragement.”

His mom, a midwife, died when he was eight, together with his father dying three years later. As a youngster, he moved to Kingston, the place he lived together with his older brother John (who had nicknamed him “Little Toots”) and located work in a barbershop.

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There, he struck a friendship with singers Jerry Matthius and Raleigh Gordon, with whom he fashioned the Maytals.

Toots and the Maytals

In 1962, the yr Jamaica gained independence from the UK, they have been found by Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, who signed them to his Studio One label.

Over the following 10 years, they launched a string of hit singles together with Fever, Bam Bam, and Candy and Dandy.

However the group hit a roadblock in 1967, when Hibbert was arrested for possession of marijuana. He served 9 months in jail and, on his launch, recorded 54-46 (That’s My Quantity) – a reference to his jail quantity.

It turned one of many first reggae songs to obtain widespread reputation outdoors Jamaica, introducing many Europeans to the sound for the primary time.

On the time, nonetheless, the phrase reggae didn’t exist. The music, which was an evolution of ska and rocksteady, had been referred to as blue-beat or boogie-beat till Hibbert intervened.

“The music was there and no-one didn’t know what to name it,” he instructed 6 Music.

“And in Jamaica we had a slang – if we’re not trying so good, if we’re trying raggedy, we’d name it ‘streggae’. That’s the place I took it from.

“I recorded this track [Do The Reggay] and folks instructed me that the track allow them to know that our music known as Reggae. So I’m the one who coined the phrase!”

The Maytals have been a part of a scene that included soon-to-be legends, reminiscent of Bob Marley and the Wailers, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff; they usually recorded with everybody from the Skatalites to Prince Buster.

“It was aggressive and pleasant, a golden time,” Hibbert not too long ago recalled in a profile for Rolling Stone.

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The group scored a UK hit with Monkey Man in 1970, and, in 1972, Hibbert appeared within the ground-breaking movie The More durable They Come.

The cult traditional starred Jimmy Cliff as Ivan, a younger man who travels to Kingston to hunt his fortune as a singer. The primary time he enters a recording studio, The Maytals are recording a track – and his eyes mild up with marvel.

The Maytals’ track Stress Drop was featured on the movie’s soundtrack – which launched many US followers to reggae – and it was later coated by the Conflict, cementing the group’s popularity within the UK.

In 1980, they entered the Guinness E-book of World Data after a live performance in London’s Hammersmith Palais was minimize to vinyl and launched in simply 24 hours, with Island Data boss Chris Blackwell personally delivering copies to document retailers in his Mini Cooper.

A yr later, howver, Matthias and Gordon retired from music and Hibbert continued as a solo act.

Comeback and damage

He assembled a brand new model of the Maytals within the Nineties and toured extensively – however made a extra high-profile comeback with the 2004 album True Love.

Boasting new recordings of his best-known hits, the document featured a number of visitor stars, together with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, No Doubt, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt and the Roots.

It went on to win a Grammy award, rejuvenating the musician’s profession. He launched a solo album, Gentle Your Gentle, in 2007 and hit the street for the Maytals fiftieth anniversary in 2012.

The next yr, nonetheless, he was injured throughout a live performance, and was unable to carry out once more till 2016.

“What occurred was we have been doing a university present, and one of many guys liked my music a lot that he threw a liquor bottle onstage,” he later recalled.

“I attempted to catch it but it surely but it surely hit my head. It was a pity that it occurred. It’s taken me three years to make folks comfortable once more.”

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The fan was arrested – and Hibbert instructed the choose he had suffered “excessive nervousness, reminiscence loss, complications, dizziness and, most sadly of all, a worry of crowds and performing”.

Nonetheless, he requested that the 19-year-old obtain a light-weight sentence. “He’s a younger man, and I’ve heard what occurs to younger males in jail,” he wrote in a letter to the choose.

“My very own ache and struggling can be elevated considerably realizing that this younger man would face that prospect.” The person obtained a six-month sentence.

The Maytals continued to be a well-liked dwell act into the 2010s

Within the ensuing years, Hibbert recorded nearly every single day in his residence studio; and not too long ago launched what was to be his final album, Bought To Be Robust.

It was co-produced by Ringo Starr’s son, Zak Starkey, who marvelled on the musician’s longevity.

“The ability in his voice is past anybody I’ve ever met,” he instructed Rolling Stone. “And he has lived via all of the generations of Jamaican music. He was on the forefront in the beginning, and he’s on the forefront now. How unbelievable is that?”

In 2012, Hibbert defined his idea of reggae in a profile for Interview journal.

He described his songs as “a message of comfort; a message of salvation. The youth are going to the college they usually need to take heed to the phrases. The dad and mom need to take heed to the phrases. God has to take heed to the phrases. So, now we have to make it optimistic.

“For those who sing nursery rhymes, it’s nothing. You simply blow up tomorrow, and the document dies on the similar time. However should you give optimistic phrases, that track lives for ever.”





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