Fans of reggae pioneers Toots & The Maytals are gathered in mourning after reports that frontman Toots Hibbert died Saturday as announced by the band’s social media account. The group is considered one of the pioneers of the term reggae and created the first song to use the slang word widely in the late 1960s.
Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert was born on December 8, 1942, in the town of May Pen in Clarendon, Jamaica. Losing his parents early on, Hibbert moved to Kingston as a boy and honed his love of singing. While in Kingston, Hibbert met Ralphus “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Matthias, and they formed a singing trio called the Maytals named after Hibbert’s hometown.
As the band continued to add members throughout the ’60s such as Jackie Jackson, Hux Brown, Rad Bryan, and Paul Douglas, their ska and rocksteady sound also began to develop. In 1968, the band’s song, “Do The Reggay,” flipping the term which was then considered a style of fashion in Jamaica. The term stuck and is now one of the most celebrated genres of music around the globe.
In 1972, the band was renamed Toots & The Maytals and became internationally known on the heels of Jimmy Cliff’s classic film The Harder They Come in 1972, contributing two songs to the movie soundtrack. The band released 10 projects in the’70s, including the album Monkey Man along with a greatest hit collection.
In the 1980s, the band recorded, mixed, and released the album Toots Live in an attempt to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records but a mixup by the record label prevented the registering of the event.
After a solo run by Toots Hibbert in the decade, the 1990s saw a retooled Maytals lineup and the band began recording and touring well in the 2010s. The band released its 24th studio album Gotta Be Tough in August of this year.
On Twitter, Toots Hibbert’s name has been trending with tributes from music lovers and musicians from around the world who were inspired by the band’s uplifting and positive vibes. We’ve collected some of those replies below.
Toots Hibbert was 77.
Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, Frontman For Reggae Pioneers Toots & The Maytals, Has Died was originally published on hiphopwired.com
Very saddened to hear of the passing of Toots Hibbert— Island Records (@islandrecordsuk) September 12, 2020
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
"My greatest achievement isn't just 1 thing. It is my voice, life, parents, family, the audience. To be able to sing for ppl & let them enjoy themselves. I’m no greater than anyone though, I am just Toots," Toots told me for a 2017 @TheVoiceNews i'view. https://t.co/4cdXay5L56 pic.twitter.com/hUx5ioLxOR— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) September 12, 2020
Toots Hibbert of legendary reggae group Toots & The Maytals has died aged 77. The group's hugely influential body of work was covered and sampled by Amy Winehouse, Major Lazer and Vampire Weekend among many others. Explore his legacy here: https://t.co/d5gkvdZ5Nt #RIP pic.twitter.com/4mhPjIlh1R— WhoSampled (@whosampled) September 12, 2020
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
Sad to hear of the passing of Toots Hibbert. He was an early originator of Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae. Prayers and thoughts with his family and loved ones. God bless his soul.@tootsmaytals #tootshibbert pic.twitter.com/qis9ZPd7Xy— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) September 12, 2020
Rest in Peace Toots. pic.twitter.com/fjbPAJxKnx— Echo & the Bunnymen (@Bunnymen) September 12, 2020
of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.— UB40 (@UB40OFFICIAL) September 12, 2020
We had the honor & privilege of touring with this father of Reggae. His music influenced and inspired us to love reggae music from an early age.
R.I.P Toots. X— Skindred (@Skindredmusic) September 12, 2020
What a life, what an amazing freedom fighter and spirit lifter. This genius Toots Hibbert influenced our lives from a very early age with colours he painted in his music with such crackers as Monkey Man and Pressure Drop to name a few. His music will live on#toots pic.twitter.com/fCiyncFTFk
Today I mourn with all Jamaicans as we woke to news of the passing of our very own legendary Reggae singer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert from the iconic band, “Toots and the Maytals”.— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) September 12, 2020
Toots died at the University Hospital of the West Indies in St Andrew on Friday evening. pic.twitter.com/SkkTGxTuw2