No Firm Date Yet for Bunny Wailer’s Thanksgiving Service
by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – A date for the thanksgiving service of reggae legend Bunny Wailer will be announced after April 12 when Jamaica’s government declares new measures in its fight to stem the Coronavirus.
Maxine Stowe, who was the singer/songwriter’s manager at the time of his death on March 2, confirmed this development with South Florida Caribbean News.
“There is no firm word as yet because of the COVID restrictions. Therefore we are looking to firm up on the 12th when they (government) announce measures. It was supposed to be on the birthday,” she said.
Wailer’s family had plans to hold his thanksgiving service on April 10 which would have been his 74th birthday. Services were to be held at his farm in Portland parish in eastern Jamaica. But a spike in Coronavirus cases forced the country’s government to institute an even more rigid curfew policy.
As of April 1, there are 39,967 Coronavirus cases in Jamaica, with 607 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Approximately 428 new cases were recorded, mainly in the capital Kingston.
The diminutive Wailer was the last of the most famous Wailers. The others, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, died in 1981 and 1987 at ages 36 and 42, respectively.
Wailer, whose real name was Neville O’Riley Livingston, was part of the original six-member group that formed in the Kingston ghetto of Trench Town during the early 1960’s. They had a number of hit songs including Simmer Down, Lonesome Feeling, It Hurts to be Alone and One Love before he, Marley and Tosh became a trio.
They recorded two acclaimed albums (Catch A Fire and Burnin’) for Island Records, but creative differences with Marley saw Tosh and Wailer leaving for solo careers in 1974. A three-time Grammy Award winner for Best Reggae Album, Wailer’s classic albums include Blackheart Man and Rock ‘n’ Groove.