By Jahman Ekundayo (Entertainment Reporter)
The reggae music world is currently in deep mourning, following the death of the legendary Jamaican singer, Bunny Wailer, who founded the Wailers with two other Jamaican reggae legends, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
Bunny Wailers, the last surviving founding member of the Wailers, died at the age of 73 at a hospital after suffering a stroke.
Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, said “This is a great loss for Jamaica and for Reggae,” adding that Bunny Wailers is “a respected elder statesman of the Jamaican music scene.”
Bunny Wailer’s real name was Neville O’Riley Livingston, but he was known affectionately as Bunny Wailer, Bunny Livingston, or Jah B. He came from Trench Town, a poor inner-city community of Kingston that went on to inspire one of the Wailers’ hits.
The Grammy-award-winning songwriter and percussionist met Marley and Tosh at a young age and the trio formed the Wailers in 1963. Nearly a decade later, the group was signed by producer Chris Blackwell’s Island Records, which lead to their fifth, now classic album, “Catch a Fire” and international fame.
Credited with popularizing reggae music, the Wailers toured the world and had several hit songs in the ska and rocksteady styles, including “Simmer Down,” “Lonesome Feeling,” and “Thank You, Lord.”
Along with Tosh, Livingston (Bunny Wailers) eventually left the group to become a solo artist, while Marley began touring with new band members as Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Bunny Wailer recorded 10 albums, winning Grammys for Best Reggae Album for “Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley” in 1991, “Crucial! Roots Classic” in 1995, and a tribute to Bob Marley in 1997. As a solo artist, his hit songs included “Cool Runnings” and “Bald Head Jesus.”
He received several of Jamaica’s highest honors, including the Order of Merit and the Order of Jamaica.
In recent years, the father of 13 suffered several strokes. He died on Tuesday after being hospitalized since December for his latest stroke, according to the culture ministry.
His wife, Jean Watt, went missing in May 2020. Her whereabouts remain unknown. (AFP via Reuters). NNL.