News – USA – Reggae Icon Bunny Wailer – founding member of the Wailers – has died at the age of 73


Bunny Wailer, founding member of the Wailers and reggae music giant whose career spanned seven decades, has died at the age of 73

Wailers manager Maxine Stowe confirmed that Wailer died on Tuesday at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica (via the Jamaica Observer) No cause of death was given, but Wailer has been in and out of the hospital since his second stroke in 2020. A representative for the musician did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment

Wailer, born in Neville Livingstone – he was also known as Bunny Livingstone before taking on his famous nickname – was part of the original Wailers trio with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh

Born on 10 April 1947 in the Nine Mile neighborhood of Jamaica’s St Ann Parish, Livingstone was Marley’s friend from a young age; After the death of Marley’s father, Norval, in 1955, Marley’s mother, Cedella, lived in Trench Town with Livingstone’s father, Thaddeus, and made Bunny and Bob step-brothers

While Marley and Livingstone were being looked after by Joe Higgs, “the godfather of reggae”, they met Higgs’ fellow student Peter Tosh; The trio at the time ventured to Kingston soon after, vocalist Junior Braithwaite and vocalists Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith joined in. After a series of name changes that included the Teenagers and the Wailing Wailers, the Wailers agreed with Coxsone Dodd’s sound system and the studio One label that employed songwriters and producers such as Lee “Scratch” Perry and Jackie Mittoo, and released Marley’s “Simmer Down,” a number 1 hit in Jamaica

Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith soon left the Wailers, leaving the core of Marley, Livingstone, and Tosh intact; This trio recorded the band’s 1965 debut LP, The Wailing Wailers, a collection of tracks the band recorded in the mid-1960s. The Wailers then took a hiatus when Marley married his wife, Rita, and fell in love with his mother Wilmington, Delaware During that time, Livingstone was serving a one-year prison sentence for marijuana possession, but the three main Wailers reunited after Marley’s return to Jamaica

While Marley and Tosh served as the lead vocalists and songwriters for The Wailers, Livingstone played an indispensable role in harmonizing the songs of the trio The Wailers next teamed up with Perry and his upsetters for the Soul Rebels of the 1970s and the Soul Revolution of 1971 teamed up It was around this time that Livingstone was writing and recording one of his signature songs, “Dreamland,” a track he revisited when he released his solo LP Blackheart Man in 1976

A collection of Wailers songs the trio recorded for the Beverley label from producer Leslie Kong was released as Best of the Wailers in 1971. Until then, Jamaican music found mostly thanks to the success of reggae acts like Toots and the Maytals and Jimmy Cliff an international audience, and the Wailers started a UK Tour with the American reggae singer Johnny Nash

In 1972, the Wailers signed with producer Chris Blackwell and his Island Records, leading to their 1973 classic and major label debut, Catch a Fire, though the 1973 album and similarly seminal follow-up, Burnin ‘contributed to it Taking the Wailers to international fame after the release of Burnin ‘, both Tosh and Wailer left the group when Blackwell tried to downsize their roles and rename the Wailers as the Marley’s background group, as well as planning a tour of the US. that tested Tosh and Wailer’s strict Rastafarian beliefs after his resignation, Wailer was briefly replaced by Higgs when the Catch a Fire tour came to America in the spring of 1973. Catch a Fire was later ranked 126th on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 greatest albums , Burnin at number 319

After leaving the Wailers, Livingstone – now known as Bunny Wailer – began work on his solo album, Blackheart Man While taking a backseat creatively with the Wailers, the LP allowed Wailer to establish himself as his own artist, with Wailer writing, producing and singing the entire Blackheart Man, which also included contributions from Wailer’s band mainstays and reggae legends such as Sly and Robbie and Aston “Family Man” Barrett The album featured songs like “Dreamland” and “Burning Down Set” which were inspired by his prison stay

“The tracks that were made in Blackheart Man were very symbolic and meaningful to this entire development of reggae music,” Wailer told Reggaeville in 2017 Reggae world should focus on ”

Blackheart Man was the beginning of a productive and fruitful solo career for Wailer, who won three Grammy awards for best reggae album in the 1990s Roots Classics and the 1997 All-Star Hall of Fame: A Tribute to 50 Years of Bob Marley

Reflecting on his career in 2016, Wailer told Afropop: “The Wailers are responsible for the sound of the Wailers Bob, Peter and I: We are fully responsible for the sound of the Wailers and what they do Wailers brought into the world and left as a legacy ”

Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Reggae, Jamaica

News – USA – Reggae icon Bunny Wailer – founding member of the Wailers – has died at the age of 73