Bunny Wailer, the co-founder and last residing member of Jamaican reggae group the Wailers, who took Bob Marley to world stardom, has died aged 73.
His supervisor Maxine Stowe confirmed his loss of life to the Jamaica Observer. Wailer had been often hospitalised since struggling a stroke in July 2020.
Andrew Holness, Jamaica’s prime minister, was amongst these paying tribute, providing “deep condolences” to his household, buddies and followers, and calling his loss of life “an excellent loss for Jamaica and for reggae”.
Born Neville Livingston in 1947 in Kingston, he and Marley turned buddies as toddlers, and fashioned the Wailers in 1963, which settled right into a core trio of the pair alongside Peter Tosh. They launched their debut album, The Wailing Wailers, in 1965 (which included their Jamaican chart-topper Simmer Down), earlier than happening hiatus when Marley moved to Delaware in the US. Wailer was convicted for marijuana possession in 1967, and served a 14 month sentence.
They reconvened after Marley’s return and Wailer’s launch, teaming with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and his group the Upsetters, and commenced recording tracks in the new, slower reggae type that had emerged out of ska. Wailer penned a quantity of the group’s songs, together with what would change into his signature tune, Dreamland.
By the early 70s, the Wailers had added new members and signed to Island Data, which – aided by the reputation of different new reggae stars equivalent to Jimmy Cliff – helped carry them to worldwide audiences. That they had a worldwide breakthrough with fifth album Catch a Hearth (1973) and its follow-up, Burnin’, which featured what would change into one of Marley’s signature songs, I Shot the Sheriff.
The unique trio cut up in 1974, when Wailer left alongside Tosh. He started a solo profession, starting with 1976’s acclaimed Blackheart Man, and maintained a gradual launch schedule for 40 years. He gained the Grammy award for finest reggae album 3 times, in 1991, 1995, and 1997.