Bunny Wailer – the founding member of The Wailers – has died at the age of 73. Wailer died March 21, 2021 in a Kingston, Jamaica hospital. While an official cause of death was not given, Wailer had been in and out of the hospital dealing with issues as a result of his second stroke last year.
In a career that spanned seven decades, the Raggae star originally formed The Wailers with Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh in 1963.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness spoke on Wailer via Twitter saying, “this is a great loss for Jamaica and for Reggae, undoubtedly Bunny Wailer will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music industry and Jamaica’s culture”.
He was born Neville O’Reiley Livingston on April 10, 1947 in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. Bunny and Bob Marley knew each other since they were both small boys. It was while being mentored by the “godfather of raggae” Joe Higgs, that the boys met Peter Tosh. The trio formed what would become The Wailers and ventured to Kingston where they recruited Junior Braithwaite, Beerley Kelso, and Cherry Smith for the band. Their first taste of success was with the song “Simmer Down”. The Marley penned song was a number one it in Jamaica.
A number of personnel changes and various obligations from original members sidelined the band for a time but the original trio got back together and resumed making music where by 1973, they were the biggest band in Jamaica.
Along with making hit song, The Wailers made the Rastafarian culture cool.
When he wasn’t traveling the world sharing the love of Raggae, Wailer enjoyed his Jamaican mountain home, farming, and writing music.
Bunny Wailer was the last surviving original member of The Wailers. No list of survivors was released.
Bunny Wailer discography:
“Roots Radics Rockers Reggae”
“Sings the Wailers”
“Hoo, Line & Sinker”
“Rule Dance Hall”
“Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley”
“Just Be Nice”
“Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary”
feature photo credit: Dubdem Sound System :: Jamaican Tour 2009