Carlton Barrett

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Carlton "Carly" Barrett
Also known asCarly, Field Marshal
Born(1950-12-17)17 December 1950
Kingston, Jamaica
Died17 April 1987(1987-04-17) (aged 36)
Kingston, Jamaica
GenresReggae, ska, rocksteady
Occupation(s)Songwriter, musician
Instrument(s)Drums, percussion, vocals
Years activeLate 1960s–1987

Carlton "Carly" Barrett (17 December 1950 – 17 April 1987) was a Jamaican musician best known for being the long-time drummer for Bob Marley & The Wailers. Recognized for his innovative style, which featured a highly syncopated, broken triplet pattern on the high-hat cymbals, and for his dazzling drum introductions, Barrett's prolific recordings with Marley have been internationally celebrated.[1][2] He is credited with popularising the One Drop rhythm.

Carlton Barrett was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1950, the son of Wilfred and Violet Barrett. As a teenager, he built his first set of drums out of empty paint cans he found on the street. Along with his contemporaries, drummers Sly Dunbar, Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Style Scott and Carlton "Santa" Davis, Barrett was heavily influenced by Lloyd Knibb of The Skatalites.

In the 1960s, Barrett began performing with his brother Aston "Family Man" Barrett, under the names The Soul Mates, The Rhythm Force and eventually The Hippy Boys, a line-up that featured Max Romeo on vocals, Leroy Brown, Delano Stewart, Glen Adams and Alva Lewis. In 1969, the brothers joined The Wailers (later Known as Bob Marley and The Wailers). During his years with Marley, Barrett continued to record for many of Jamaica's most well known artists and is featured on solo albums by Bunny Wailer (Blackheart Man) and Peter Tosh (Legalize It and Equal Rights) as well as many others.


On 17 April 1987, a gunman shot and killed Barrett outside his home at 12 Bridgemount Park Avenue in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 36.

Carlton Barrett's widow, Albertine Barrett, was subsequently jailed on 18 October 1991, after being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Sentenced with her were taxi driver Glenroy Carter, 39, her reputed lover, and Junior "Bang" Neil, 39, a mason, whom the prosecution alleged was responsible for the actual shooting.[3][4]


  1. ^ Christopher R. Weingarten; Jon Dolan; Matt Diehl; Ken Micallef; David Ma; Gareth Dylan Smith; Oliver Wang; Jason Heller; Jordan Runtagh; Hank Shteamer; Steve Smith; Brittany Spanos; Kory Grow; Rob Kemp; Keith Harris; Richard Gehr; Jon Wiederhorn; Maura Johnston; Andy Greene (31 March 2016). "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  2. ^ Andrea (23 July 2020). "Carlton Barrett, the most innovative reggae drummer | ZerotoDrum". Zero to Drum. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Musician's Wife, Two Others Sentenced In His Murder". 19 October 1991. Archived from the original on 1 May 2021. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  4. ^ "Carlton Barrett". Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 20 July 2021.

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