Toots Hibbert, who passed away Friday night at the age of 77, just two weeks after the release of his latest album “Got to Be Tough,” was one of the last surviving founders of reggae music. The influence of his six-decade career is evidenced by the wide variety of artists paying tribute to him in the hours after his death.
Ziggy Marley, recording artist and son of reggae titan Bob — who was a friend and contemporary of Hibbert’s — wrote, “The Legendary Toots Hibbert has passed. i spoke w/him a few wks ago told him how much i loved him we laughed & shared our mutual respect. He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him RIP MIGHTY & POWERFUL NYAH FYAH BALL.”
The Legendary Toots Hibbert has passed i spoke w/him a few wks ago told him how much i loved him we laughed & shared our mutual respect. He was a father figure to me his spirit is w/us his music fills us w/his energy i will never forget him RIP MIGHTY & POWERFUL NYAH FYAH BALL 😢 pic.twitter.com/zIofrbYZU0
— Ziggy Marley (@ziggymarley) September 12, 2020
Mick Jagger, who signed reggae legend Peter Tosh to the Rolling Stones’ label in the 1970s, wrote, “So sad to hear of Toots Hibbert’s passing. When I first heard Pressure Drop that was a big moment – he had such a powerful voice and on stage he always gave the audience his total energy. A sad loss to the music world.”
So sad to hear of Toots Hibbert’s passing. When I first heard Pressure Drop that was a big moment – he had such a powerful voice and on stage he always gave the audience his total energy. A sad loss to the music world. pic.twitter.com/CAs9VF4X41
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) September 12, 2020
Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Jagger’s bandmates in the Rolling Stones, both called Hibbert a friend.
I’d like to send my condolences to the Hibbert family for my dear friend Toots Hibbert who passed away on Friday. I have very happy memories of playing with him, a lovely man and a great talent. Here we are talking about his song ‘Pressure Drop’: https://t.co/uBph4Skerj
— Ronnie Wood (@ronniewood) September 12, 2020
Neville Staple of the Specials, the leading group of the late 1970s ska movement in England, wrote, “Devastating news about Toots. This great man of music led the way for so many. May he rest easy and his music continue to light up the World. Travel well my friend!”
The Specials’ contemporaries UB40, and Pauline Black of the Selecter, paid homage as well.
We have just heard that the legend Toots sadly passed away yesterday.
A statement from his family read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital pic.twitter.com/dL3sd08NBt
— UB40 (@UB40OFFICIAL) September 12, 2020
Such sad news to wake up to on a Saturday morning. A beautiful man, with a unique voice & a beautiful spirit is gone.
RIP Toots Hibberthttps://t.co/E6gC2QzgGf
— pauline black (@paulineblack) September 12, 2020
Country legend Willie Nelson, who recorded a reggae album in 2005 that Hibbert guested on, paid tribute on Saturday.
Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, the label to which both Hibbert and Marley were signed at the peak of their careers, said in a statement: “Toots has been a giant of Jamaican music for almost 60 years. He wrote the song ‘Do The Reggae,’ which gave the name REGGAE which took over from SKA. 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. Toots was always his own self, full of energy, laughter and hard work. Over the years I have spent many days in recording studios with Toots and will always remember a song I produced with him called FUNKY KINGSTON which became one of his big hits. It is so sad that he has been taken from all of us”
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Toots Hibbert
Speaking about his friend Island’s founder Chris Blackwell once said “I’ve known Toots longer than anybody… Toots is one of the purest human beings I’ve met in my life, pure almost to a fault.” pic.twitter.com/kgq7if7vQg
— Island Records (@islandrecordsuk) September 12, 2020
The influential reggae label Trojan Records paid homage as well. “Trojan mourns the passing of legendary reggae icon Toots Hibbert, frontman of the groundbreaking reggae and ska group Toots & The Maytals. Our condolences to all his family, friends, and loved ones..”
Trojan mourns the passing of legendary reggae icon Toots Hibbert, frontman of the groundbreaking reggae and ska group Toots & The Maytals. Our condolences to all his family, friends, and loved ones. #TootsHibbert pic.twitter.com/YQx4Fga26v
— Trojan Records (@trojanrecords) September 12, 2020
The long-running British group Massive Attack, which fused R&B, reggae and other styles into its sound beginning in the late 1980s, paid tribute as well, demonstrating the multiple generations that Hibbert influenced.
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