Loyal fans of reggae music have been shocked to hear of the death of Jamiacan reggae singer Toots Hibbert on September 11, 2020, at the age of 77. Although no official cause of death was announced, the band said he had been taken to intensive care a week earlier and was awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
He brought reggae to the masses and claimed to have coined the term itself in his 1968 song "To the Reggay." After many years of recording albums and touring the world, Toots & the Maytals won the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Reggae album for True Love. This popular release paid tribute to reggae with such hits as "Pressure Drop," "Reggae Got Soul," and "Funky Kingston." Throughout his career the singer also created unique covers of such popular tunes as John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and Richard Berry's "Louie Louie."
Here are our favorites from Toots and the Maytals with links to YouTube videos:
- "Reggae Got Soul" (1976), a spunky, top-tapping song where Toots sounds like an inspired preacher.
- "Time Tough" (1975), a harrowing portrait of poverty in Trenchtown.
- "Funky Kingston" (1972) celebrates the power of music with its inimitable beat.
- "Pressure Drop" (1969) was a huge hit for Toots & the Maytals, thanks to its inclusion on the soundtrack of The Harder They Come.
- "54-44 Was My Number" (1968) showcases Toots' great soul singing.
- "Spiritual Healing" (1983) celebrates the power of love to wipe away bad feelings and replace them with good ones. Just read the lyrics, and you'll see why this is one of our favorite spiritual songs of all time.
And if you want to find your own favorites, here's a playlist on Spotify.
Thanks for the music, Toots. We know it will continue to give us many hours of spiritual healing.