EAB pays tribute to Toots Hibbert
The Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB) has joined Jamaicans in expressing sadness at the passing of reggae legend Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert, C.D.
“Toots Hibbert spent most of his life creating, promoting, and expanding Jamaica’s flagship sound – reggae,” said Howard McIntosh, chairman of the EAB. “We especially want to acknowledge his wife, Doreen, who has lost her partner of over four decades. To his family, we will continue to outpour our love and support.
“For over 60 years, Toots was the stirring voice on over 30 albums showcasing his skills as a prolific songwriter, recording artiste, and gifted instrument player. But we must encourage the young people to preserve his legacy and delve into his vast discography,” McIntosh said.
The frontman for Toots and The Maytals died at age 77 on Friday after a fortnight of illness.
“Looking in hindsight, we can now recognise that Toots made one last contribution to the Jamaican musical landscape as a top 10 finalist in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Jamaica Festival 2020 Song Competition,” said EAB director and reggae producer Augustus ‘Gussie’ Clarke. “Through his music, he has shown that he is a stalwart Jamaican.”
Toots and the Maytals won the JCDC Festival Song competition three times with Bam Bam in 1966, Sweet and Dandy in 1969, and Pomps and Pride in 1972.
His music marked the burgeoning era with Pressure Drop, Monkey Man, Funky Kingston, and 54-46 ( That’s My Number), which recalled his drug arrest and imprisonment in the 1960s.
“These songs are iconographical of Toots, Toots and The Maytals, and Jamaican popular music,” said Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah, EAB director and director of the Institute of Caribbean Studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona. “We must cement his name and legendary status to the younger generation as the first artiste to name Jamaica’s iconic sound on his 1968 song Do The Reggay.”
Toots and the Maytals recorded 31 number-one hits in Jamaica and garnered five Grammy nominations and a win for Best Reggae Album with True Love in 2005.
The Government of Jamaica recognised Toots’ “outstanding contribution to the development of Jamaican popular music” in the 2012 National Honours and Awards investiture.
In August 2020, shortly after his Festival song performances, Toots and the Maytals released Got to Be Tough, the band’s first full-length album in over 10 years. His legacy will live on in many ways. In a very special way, though, Toots remains a man of the times with the news on the eve of this passing that the single Got To Be Tough, whose lyrics have resonated with the Black Lives Matter Movement, is now being used in the global campaign.