Toots’ Hibbert, A Founding Father Of Reggae, Dead At 77

By Ishena Robinson

Toots Hibbert, the Grammy-win­ning Jamaican singer behind sem­i­nal reg­gae tracks like “Pressure Drop” and “54−46″, died on Friday.

Hibbert, born Frederick Nathaniel, was sur­round­ed by fam­i­ly when he died peace­ful­ly at a hos­pi­tal in Kingston, Jamaica, said a state­ment put out on his social media chan­nels.

He had been hos­pi­tal­ized with com­pli­ca­tions from COVID-19 and put in a med­ical­ly-induced coma ear­li­er this month, reports the Jamaica Gleaner, though his fam­i­ly has not revealed the cause of death.

Hibbert was the front-man of Toots and The Maytals, a group that ush­ered in the roots rock­steady reg­gae sound that was borne in Jamaica in the late ’60s and quick­ly went on to cap­ti­vate music lovers the world over. Hibbert is also cred­it­ed with coin­ing the term reg­gae with the track “Do The Reggae,” which he wrote in 1968 with his back­ing band.

His music was also informed by the R&B and soul music being pro­duced by Black Americans, and his reg­gae-infused cov­ers of stan­dards like “I’ve Got Dreams (To Remember)” and “I Can’t Stand The Rain” are cel­e­brat­ed parts of his oeuvreAcross the globe and in his native Jamaica, Toots was rec­og­nized as a musi­cal icon, and trib­utes have come from all cor­ners in response to the news of his pass­ing

There is nobody like him. I will remem­ber him as a pas­sion­ate per­former with the biggest per­son­al­i­ty ever,” Jack Jackson, bass play­er for The Maytals, told the Gleaner.

Toots was always his own self, full of ener­gy, laugh­ter and hard work,” Island Records founder Chris Blackwell said to Rolling Stone, “Toots wrote and per­formed so many great songs all across the world and had just com­plet­ed a total­ly new album which was planned for release this year. It is so sad that he has been tak­en from all of us.”

A pro­lif­ic artist and per­former for close to six decades, Hibbert released the final album of his career, Got To Be Tough, just this August. It has been nom­i­nat­ed for a Grammy.

He is sur­vived by his wife of 39 years and sev­en of his chil­dren.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.