The reggae fraternity is in mourning after the loss of one of Jamaica’s most prolific music artists, Toots Hibbert (77). Toot’s musical career spanned over six decades, encompassing the eras of Ska, Rock Steady, Reggae, and dancehall. It’s reported that died due to complications from the coronavirus on Friday, September 11th. His group originally called The Maytals and later Toots, and the Maytals were of the founding groups in contributing to the ska and rock steady genre. Toots was also a participant in the Jamaica Music Festival. Winning with “Bam Bam” in 1966 and again in 1969, “Sweet and Dandy.”
He started singing gospel in the local church choir. However, his big break came when the Maytals were discovered by Sir Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and secure a contract with Studio One. Many hits were produced during his Studio One time.
One of his most famous songs, 54-46, came out of personal misfortune. In 1967 Toots was arrested for possession of ganja (marijuana) and served nine months in prison. 54-46 was his prisoner number.
Interestingly enough, some believe Toots was the one who coined the name reggae to this new form of Jamaican music. There was an appearance in the film, the harder they come. After the original members of The Maytals retired in 1981, Toots continued recording and performing. He also won a Grammy with his “True Love” album from 2014. His latest album, Got To Be Tough, was released on August 28. Also, important to note that Rolling Stone magazine put him at No. 71 on the list of best singers of all time.
Toots and The Maytals memorable song: