Dismay in the world of Reggae has caused the news of the death of Neville O'Riley Livingston, better known as Bunny Wailer, co-founder and last living member of the originals The Wailers, musical group that he founded in the early seventies with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley, and who died this morning at 73 years at Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica.
This was confirmed by Maxine Stowe, former manager of the late Reggae legend to local media on the island, and his son revealed it too, Abijah Asadenaki Livingston, who in a Facebook post this morning prior to his passing said that JAH B had been ill for some time: “due to the stress of Jean Watt's disappearance, aka Sis Jean, my father suffered a second stroke in July 2020 and has since been medically incapacitated”.
Bunny Wailer had been hospitalized frequently since suffering a stroke in July 2020, it's more, on that date rumors spread about his possible death, which was later denied and also reported by Reggae Chalice in the chance.
Emblematic figure of the Rastafarian order Nyahbinghi, in the Rastafari community and also in his closest circle they called him JAH B. He was not only a talented singer and songwriter, but also a skilled guitarist and percussionist, a successful soloist, a passionate athlete and a loving father.
Born in 1947 and Kingston, grew up with his father in Nine Mile (St. Ann), place where she met Robert Nesta Marley when they were both still children. They even became stepbrothers when Bunny's father, Thaddeus, and Bob's mother, Cedella, they moved in as a couple and had a daughter together, Pearl. Their musical journey began in their childhood, already in 1963 formaron The Wailing Wailers junto a Peter Tosh.
In 1965 they released their debut album, The Wailing Wailers, which included "Simmer Down", single that topped the Jamaican charts. Before taking a musical break when Marley moved to Delaware in the US. UU., Wailer was convicted of marijuana possession in 1967 and served a sentence of 14 months. They reunited after Marley's return and the release of The Wailer, teaming up with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and his group The Upsetters, moment when they began to record songs in the new slower Reggae style that had emerged from ska. Wailer wrote several of the group's songs, including the one that would become his signature song, “Dreamland”.
Ten years, many tours and countless hits afterwards, Bunny decided to leave the Wailers to pursue his solo career in 1974, junto a Peter Tosh. Two years later, in 1976, debuted his solo career with "Blackheart Man", record that remains a great success to this day. His later work earned him three Grammy Awards.: “Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley” (1991), “Crucial! Roots Classics” (1995) Y “Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary” (1997).
His hit songs include "Cool Runnings", “Ballroom Floor”, “Crucial”, “Bald Head Jesus”, “Armageddon”, “Roots”, “Rise and Shine”, to name a few. In 2004 participated in the album "True love", the Toots & the Maytals, alongside stars like Keith Richards and Eric Clapton, also awarded as Best Reggae Album at the ceremony. Bunny Wailer was last on tour in 2016 on the occasion of 40 anniversary of his debut album “Blackheart Man”.
His musical and social impact was awarded in 2012 when he received Jamaica's fifth highest honor, the "Order of Jamaica", and again in 2017, when he received the "Order of Merit", fourth highest honor in the nation. His legacy was recognized and promoted by his inner family circle., mainly by his son Asadenaki, also a musician and singer, who was instrumental in organizing the Wailers Museum, as well as the launch of the Statue of the Wailers and the annual Bunny Birth Anniversary Celebrations. The Government recognized his contribution to Jamaican music again in February 2019 with a Reggae Gold Award.
It should be noted that this morning Asadenaki Wailer stated in an extensive post on your facebook page que Maxine Stowe, who, according to some sources, is cited as Bunny Wailer's manager, has no right to act as such: “Me, Abijah Asadenaki Livingston, son of the Honorable Neville” Bunny Wailer “Livingston, I hereby publicly denounce all dealings with Maxine Stowe, who works as my father's most recent manager”. Due to the events reported by Asadenaki, media and music publishers are encouraged to address Mr.. Livingston for any questions.
Bunny Wailer, a.k.a JAH B, I would have fulfilled 74 years next month, the 10 of April. Long live your legacy, cool ruler!
Source: Digital media / RC team