Toots and the Maytals
|Toots and the Maytals|
Performing at the Summer Sundae festival, Leicester, August 2011
|Years active||1962–early 1980s
|Members||Frederick "Toots" Hibbert
Marie "Twiggi" Gitten
Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan
|Past members||Henry "Raleigh" Gordon
Nathaniel "Jerry" Matthias
Toots and the Maytals, originally called The Maytals, are a Jamaican musical group and one of the best known ska and rock steady vocal groups. The Maytals were formed in the early 1960s and were key figures in popularizing reggae music. Frontman Toots Hibbert's soulful vocal style has been compared to Otis Redding, and led him to be named one of the 100 Greatest Singers by Rolling Stone. Their 1968 single "Do the Reggay", was the first song to first use the word "reggae", naming the genre and introducing it to a global audience.
- 1 Career
- 2 Awards, Recognition and Accolades
- 3 Discography
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Formation and early success
Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, the frontman of the group, was born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica, in 1945, the youngest of seven children. He grew up singing gospel music in a church choir and moved to Kingston in the late 1950s. In Kingston, Hibbert met Henry "Raleigh" Gordon and Nathaniel "Jerry" Mathias, forming in 1962 a group whose early recordings were incorrectly attributed to "The Flames" and "The Vikings" in the UK by Island Records.
The Maytals first had chart success recording for producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd at Studio One. With musical backing from Dodd's house band, the Skatalites, the Maytals' close-harmony gospel singing ensured success, overshadowing Dodd's other up-and-coming vocal group, the Wailers. After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording with Byron Lee in 1966. With Lee, the Maytals won the first-ever Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition with their original song "Bam Bam" (later covered in a Dancehall style by Sister Nancy, and also by Yellowman in 1982). The group's musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was jailed for 18 months for possession of marijuana. He stated that he was not arrested for ganja, but while bailing a friend. Hibbert reportedly wrote "54-46 That's My Number" about his time in jail.
Following Hibbert's release in 1967, the Maytals began working with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, a collaboration which yielded a string of hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. These included "Do the Reggay", released in 1968, which was the first song to first use the word "reggae" and gave the developing genre its name.
Reggae is listed in the dictionary as:
reggae [reg-ey] (noun) - a style of Jamaican popular music blending blues, calypso, and rock-'n'-roll, characterized by a strong syncopated rhythm and lyrics of social protest. Origin of reggae: Jamaican English, respelling of reggay (introduced in the song “Do the Reggay” (1968) by Frederick “Toots” Hibbert)
The Maytals are responsible for some of the biggest hits in reggae history, including "Pressure Drop," "Sweet And Dandy" and "54-46 (That's My Number)," the winner of the 1969 Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition.
In 1970 "Monkey Man", became the group's first international hit. By 1971, they signed a recording contract with Chris Blackwell's Island Records, become the biggest act on the island, and had become international stars.
In 1972 the group won the Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition for a third time with "Pomps and Pride". The group was also featured twice in the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff, named as one of Vanity Fairs Top 10 soundtracks of all time.
After Kong's death in 1971, the group continued to record with Kong's former sound engineer, Warrick Lyn. Their re-instated producer Byron Lee renamed them Toots & the Maytals. The group released three best-selling albums produced by Lyn and Blackwell of Island Records, and enjoyed international hits with Funky Kingston in 1973 and Reggae Got Soul in 1975. Music critic Lester Bangs described the album Funky Kingston in Stereo Review as “perfection, the most exciting and diversified set of reggae tunes by a single artist yet released.” Chris Blackwell had a strong commitment to Toots and the Maytals, saying “I’ve known Toots longer than anybody – much longer than Bob (Bob Marley). Toots is one of the purest human beings I’ve met in my life, pure almost to a fault.”
Toots and the Maytals' compositions experienced a resurgence of popularity in 1978-80 during the reggae punk and ska revival period in the UK, when the Specials covered "Monkey Man" on their 1979 debut album and the Clash covered the group's hit "Pressure Drop". During this period Toots and the Maytals were also included in the lyrics to Bob Marley & the Wailers song, "Punky Reggae Party": "The Wailers will be there, the Damned, the Jam, the Clash, the Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too".
Guinness Book of World Records
On 29 September 1980, the band recorded, pressed and distributed a new album (Toots Live) to the record shops all in the space of 24 hours in an attempt to make the Guinness Book of World Records. A live concert was recorded on reels of 2-inch, 24-track analog tape, then rushed by van to sound engineers. After a running order was determined, the record label was quickly designed and sent to the printers. The album masters, labels and the outer covers were then separately sped to the Gedmel factory near Leicester, and the finished product was assembled and delivered to Coventry, where the band was playing the next day, successfully meeting the 24-hour deadline. Due to record label oversight, the achievement was not successfully registered with the Guinness Book of World Records. Island Records' Rob Bell was quoted as saying, "Unfortunately, the record was not included in the Guinness book, because they required prior notification that the event was going to take place, and no one at Island had informed them of the project!" The record for "fastest album release" was not officially held in the Guinness Book of World Records until 28 years later when Vollgas Kompanie claimed the honor in 2008 for recording and releasing their album "Live" in 24 hours - matching the time interval in which Toots and the Maytals recorded, pressed and distributedToots Live in 1980.
Hibbert continued to record as a solo artist throughout the 1980s.
In 2004, the group released True Love, an album of re-recorded versions of their earlier hits in collaboration with fellow musicians including Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Trey Anastasio, No Doubt, Ben Harper, the Roots, and Shaggy. The True Love album won the Grammy Award that year for best reggae album.
In 2006, they recorded a reggae/ska version of Radiohead's "Let Down" for the tribute album, Radiodread. The album was a song for song makeover of the English rock band's album OK Computer into reggae, dub and ska. In August 2007 Toots & the Maytals released Light Your Light, which featured re-workings of older songs such as "Johnny Cool Man", as well as new material. The album was nominated in 2008 for a Grammy in the best reggae album category.
In March 2009 it was announced that Toots & the Maytals would be performing alongside Amy Winehouse, for their shared record label Island Records' 50th anniversary. Winehouse had covered the band's "Monkey Man", and the act were supposed to perform with her at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 31 May 2009. However, Winehouse's performance was cancelled, and Toots & the Maytals instead played at the more intimate Bush Hall to a sell-out crowd.
The 2012 live album Unplugged on Strawberry Hill gained Hibbert his fifth Grammy nomination.
In May 2013, Hibbert was struck in the head with a 1.75-liter vodka bottle while performing onstage at a Richmond, Virginia, festival. His injuries resulted in a concussion and treatment required six staples in his head. After the injury, the singer canceled all subsequent performances, citing fear of his audience and no longer feeling safe performing.
In 2016 Toots and the Maytals announced a return to the stage with their first tour in 3 years, and on June 15 at The Observatory North Park in San Diego the group returned to the stage for the first time since 2013.
Awards, Recognition and Accolades
- 1981 'Toots Live!' nominated for Grammy Award
- 1989 'Toots in Memphis' nominated for Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of the Year
- 1998 'SKAFATHER' nominated for Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of the Year
- 2004 'True Love' won Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of the Year
- 2010 Toots Hibbert named one of the 100 Greatest Singers by Rolling Stone
- 2013 'Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged On Strawberry Hill' nominated for Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album of the Year
- Record holder for most number one songs in Jamaica (31 #1 songs)
- Never Grow Old (1964)
- The Sensational Maytals (1965)
- Sweet And Dandy (1968)
- From The Roots (1970)
- Monkey Man (1970)
- Greatest Hits (1971)
- Slatyam Stoot (1972)
- Funky Kingston (1973)
- Roots Reggae (1974)
- In the Dark (1974)
- Reggae Got Soul (1976)
- Toots Presents The Maytals (1977)
- Pass the Pipe (1979)
- Just Like That (1980)
- Knock Out! (1981)
- Toots In Memphis (1988) [Toots solo album]
- Recoup (1997)
- Ska Father (1998)
- World Is Turning (2003)
- True Love (2004)
- Light Your Light (2007)
- Flip and Twist (2010)
- Pressure Drop - The Golden Tracks (2011)
Selected live albums
- Live (1980)
- Live at Reggae Sunsplash (1983)
- An Hour Live "Straight from the Yard" Dedicated to Robert Nesta Marley (1990)
- Live in London (1999)
- Unplugged on Strawberry Hill (2012)
Selected compilation albums
- The Original Golden Oldies Vol.3 (1974) [Prince Buster productions]
- Life Could Be A Dream (1992) [Coxsone Dodd productions]
- The Best Of Toots And The Maytals (1979)
- Reggae Greats (1985)
- The Very Best of Toots & The Maytals (2000)
- Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Vanguard, 2007), performing Domino's "Let The Four Winds Blow"
- List of reggae musicians
- List of roots reggae artists
- List of ska musicians
- List of Caribbean music groups
- "100 Greatest Singers". Rolling Stone. December 2, 2010. Retrieved 2016-07-08.
- "Frederick "Toots" Hibbert Biography". biography.com. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
- "reggae". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
- Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 178–181
- Mark Deming. "Toots & the Maytals | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "The Festival Song Winners 1966 - 2005". The Jamaican Cultural Development Commission. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2015-10-25.
- "Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae: Amazon.co.uk: David Katz: Books". Amazon.co.uk. p. 90. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae: Amazon.co.uk: David Katz: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "reggae". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Oct. 2016. <Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/browse/reggae>.
- "Toots and the Maytals." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 6 Oct. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/toots-and-maytals>.
- Katz, David. "Toots and the Maytals’ Live: From Stage to Wax in 24 Hours." Red Bull Music Academy. Red Bull Music Academy, 19 June 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2016. http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2013/06/toots-and-the-maytals-live-album
- "Toots & The Maytals". Concord Music Group. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- Mojo Magazine, September 2012, pp. 32-33
- "Fastest album release". guinnessworldrecords.com. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- "About The Performer: Toots And The Maytals". laphil.com. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
- "Buy Island Records Tickets for All 2014 UK Tour Dates and Concerts". allgigs.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Toots celebrates Grammy nod - Entertainment". JamaicaObserver.com. 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Man gets jail time despite "Toots" Hibbert's plea - Richmond Times-Dispatch". Timesdispatch.com. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2015-10-14.
- "Toots And The Maytals Announce First Tour In 3 Years". jambase.com. 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- "Toots and the Maytals Return with First Tour in Three Years". jambands.com. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- "Maytals Find Good Vibes in the Memphis Roots of Reggae". Los Angeles Times. 1989-01-25. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
- "TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS". artistsonly.com. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
- . grammy.com https://www.grammy.com/nominees/search?artist=toots&field_nominee_work_value=&year=All&genre=All. Retrieved 2016-06-30. Missing or empty
- "Toots celebrates Grammy nod". Jamaica Observer. 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2016-06-30.