The man who gave us some of the most amazing songs like Monkey man, Pressure drop, and Make reggay, Toots Hibbert, passed away on September 11, 2020, at the age of 77.
Toots was born under the name Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert, and he introduced the world to a whole new genre of music, which he named very famous reggae. The Toots & the Maytals frontman was in a medical coma in Kingston and his family awaited the results of a COVID-19 test. The true cause of his death is still unclear.
News of his death was announced by the reggae star’s family on the group’s social media accounts.
Hibbert, an influential Jamaican ska and reggae singer, has been nominated five times for the Grammy and recently performed at Jamaica’s emancipation and independence celebrations in August.
The first time Hibbert used the term “reggae” was when he played Make reggay with his group, the Maytals. Some say the term was an accidental currency, where Hibbert meant “streggae” (a slang term used for lazy women).
Hibbert and Bob Marley were close friends at the time and had performed a few numbers in several countries. The latter’s son, Ziggy Marley, wrote about Hibbert’s death in a tweet, claiming they had spoken to each other a few weeks ago.
While the classic rock star did not gain fame from Marley, he achieved immense popularity in Jamaica, earning the adoration of fellow musicians and critics. His work has helped define the fundamentals of reggae.
Born in May Pen, 30 miles from the Jamaican capital, Hibbert was a former boxer, songwriter, showman and multi-instrumentalist. He spent hours singing in church before taking a break from playing his own music. Two of Hibbert’s children, Junior and Leba, followed their father’s path to becoming reggae artists.
Hibbert was a beloved musician whose concerts ended with some members of the audience joining him on stage and dancing to his songs. Just as his friend Marley preached peace and justice, too, in some of his songs (Pressure drop, Bam Bam and Revolution), talked about justice.
The reggae legend has performed with some of the world’s greatest musicians, including John Lennon, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. His death shocked many people, and not just in the music industry. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holmes also posted a photo next to Hibbert, sending his greetings to the late star.
Hibbert has had a huge impact on his community and will be sadly missed. Her pure and powerful voice carried reggae to the world and will continue to do so for generations to come. Not only will he be remembered for mixing R&B and gospel to create an unforgettable musical genre, but also for becoming the cornerstone of Jamaican culture with Marley.
Hibbert is survived by his wife of 39 years, Doreen Hibbert, and his seven of eight children.
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