Reggae legend Bunny Wailer has died, reports The Associated Press. Wailer was the last surviving member of the legendary reggae band The Wailers, which he founded in 1963 with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Jamaica Observer reported that the reggae light suffered a stroke in 2020 and has been in and out of the hospital since then. Bunny Wailer was 73 years old.
Bunny Wailer was born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Kingston, Jamaica. He met Marley as children in the village of St. Ann Parrish on the Nile Mile. Later, when Joe Higgs was caring for them in Trench Town, the two met Tosh for the first time. The trio formed the Wailers and hired singers Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso to join the band.
Wailer was one of the permanent Wailers members amid a rotating cast in the 1960s and early 1970s. He played drums and sang on classic Wailers records like Catch a Fire and Burnin ‘, both released in 1973. Shortly afterwards he left the band to pursue a solo career. Wailer released his debut solo album Blackheart Man in 1976.
In the 1990s, Wailer won three reggae Grammys: in 1991 the best reggae recording (Time Will Tell: A Homage to Bob Marley), in 1995 the best reggae album (Crucial! Roots Classics) and in 1997 again the best reggae album ( Hall of Fame: A tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th anniversary, in 2012 he received the Order of Jamaica’s Award for “Every Jamaican Citizen of Outstanding Honor”.