Toots Hibbert

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Toots Hibbert
Toots-Hibbert.jpg
Toots Hibbert performing with Toots & the Maytals
Orlando, Florida Photo: Karl Simpson
Background information
Birth name Frederick Nathaniel Hibbert
Born (1942-12-08) 8 December 1942 (age 71)
May Pen, Jamaica
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Ska, rocksteady, reggae, roots reggae
Occupations Musician, songwriter, bandleader
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Associated acts Toots & the Maytals

Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert (born 8 December 1942) is a Jamaican singer and songwriter, known as the leader for the reggae and ska band Toots & the Maytals.

Biography[edit]

Born in May Pen, Parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, the youngest of seven children, he grew up singing gospel music in a church choir. He moved to Kingston as a teenager in the early 1960s, and met Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias, and they formed The Maytals. The Maytals became one of the most popular vocal groups in Jamaica in the 1960s, recording with producers Coxsone Dodd, Prince Buster, Byron Lee and Leslie Kong. This success included winning Jamaica's National Popular Song Contest three times with songs Hibbert wrote: in 1966 with "Bam Bam", 1969 with "Sweet and Dandy", and 1972 with "Pomps & Pride".[1]

In 1966 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of marijuana.[2] This experience provided the inspiration for one of his best known songs, "54-46 That's My Number".[2]

Hibbert was one of the first artists to use the word reggae, in 1968's "Do The Reggay", an early reggae song. He also appeared in the groundbreaking Jamaican film The Harder They Come. The soundtrack for the film included the Maytals' 1969 hit song Pressure Drop.

Much of Hibbert's recorded output reflects his Evangelical Christian upbringing. He has been known to write about Rastafarian religious themes as well, and in an early song by the Maytals, Six And Seven Books Of Moses, from 1963, he addressed the folk magic of obeah and its use of the occult literature of Biblical grimoires like the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses.

A multi-instrumentalist, he can play every instrument in his band.[3]

21st century[edit]

Toots still tours the world, and his band won the Grammy for best reggae album in 2004.

In 2006, Toots & the Maytals covered Radiohead's "Let Down" for the Easy Star All-Stars album Radiodread, a reggae version of the English rock band's OK Computer.

In 2009, Hibbert collaborated with executive producer Malik Al Nasir of MediaCPR and Steel Pulse's Sidney Mills, who produced Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald's album Drumquestra. His track is called "What about the Children?", a house track with accompanying video shot on location in New York. The same year he also performed vocals with Iowa reggae band Public Property on their album Work to Do.

Hibbert was also a judge for the 10th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.[4]

Hibbert collaborated with the Jacksonville, Florida southern rock/blues group, JJ Grey & MOFRO. He is featured in their song, "The Sweetest Thing", on their album, Georgia Warhorse.

Hibbert joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a performance of "Louie Louie" during their New Year's Eve performance on December 31, 2011 held in St. Barts by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich. The private bash was invitation only and around 300 guests including George Lucas, Martha Stewart, Marc Jacobs and Jimmy Buffett attended the party at Abramovich's $90 million estate.[5]

In May 2013 Hibbert received a head injury after being hit by a thrown bottle during a performance at the River Rock Festival in Richmond, forcing him to cancel several months of live shows.[6]

The bottle was thrown by William C Lewis. Lewis was facing a charge of malicious wounding but plead guilty to lesser charges. Despite Toots pleading in a letter to the judge, "He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail. My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect.”, the judge gave Lewis a six month sentence.[7]

Honours[edit]

In August 2012 it was announced that Hibbert would receive Jamaica's fifth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica.[8]

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]