Reggae Legend Bunny Wailer has Died at Age 73

Reggae Legend Bunny Wailer Recovering from Second Stroke

Bunny Wailer

by Howard Campbell

[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – Reggae legend Bunny Wailer has died. He passed away at Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica on March 2 at age 73.

Wailer had been the sole survivor of the three most famous members of The Wailers, the others being Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

Marley died from cancer in Miami at age 36 in May, 1981 while Tosh was murdered at his Kingston home in September, 1987. He was 42.

Wailer had been in ill health since suffering a stroke in late 2018. He had a second stroke in July last year.

He was also deeply affected by the disappearance of Jean Watt, his longtime partner who went missing in May last year

Born Neville Livingston in Kingston, Wailer was part of the original six-piece Wailers lineup that formed in Trench Town during the early 1960’s.

Wailer’s Hits

They had numerous hit songs that decade including Simmer Down, Lonesome Feeling, One Love, Put it On and It Hurts to be Alone. Marley, Tosh and Wailer did a series of militant songs for Lee “Scratch” Perry such as Small Axe and Duppy Conqueror at the dawn of the 1970’s, which set the pace for Catch A Fire and Burnin’, groundbreaking albums they released in 1973 through Island Records.

Tosh and Wailer left the group that year, reportedly over creative and personality differences as Marley went to superstardom.

Wailer recorded acclaimed albums such as Blackheart Man and Rock ‘n’ Groove. The latter, released in 1981 with the Roots Radics Band, hears him embracing the emerging dancehall culture. In the 1990’s, he won three Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album.

Bunny Wailer is a recipient of the Order of Merit, Jamaica’s fourth highest honor.

 

 

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