Bunny Wailer, an original member of The Wailers singing group with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, has died. The details of Wailer’s death have yet to be revealed but it has been reported that the singer and songwriter passed away in his native Jamaica.
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Wailer was born Neville O’Riley Livingston on April 10, 1947, growing up in Nine Mile in St. Ann Parish where he befriended his future musical partner in Marley. The pair were bonded by the union of Livingston’s father and Marley’s mother, which produced a daughter, Pearl Livingston.
The musical journey for Wailer began in the 1960s after forming The Wailing Wailers band with his stepbrother in Marley and their friend Tosh. Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso were also early members of the band. The band cut two albums Catch A Fire and Burnin’, after which Tosh and Wailer went on to begin their solo careers.
As a soloist, Wailer released over two dozen albums and received the Best Reggae Album Grammy Award in 1991 for his album, Time Will Tell: A Tribute To Bob Marley. Wailer won two additional Grammys for 1995’s Crucial! Roots Classics, and 1997’s Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley’s 50th Anniversary.
According to the Caribbean National Weekly, Wailer reportedly batted some health conditions and it was widely reported that he suffered a stroke in 2018 which caused some problems with his speech. In November 2019, Wailer was given the Pinnacle Award in New York from the Coalition to Preserve Reggae. In 2012, Wailer was given the Order of Jamaica honor, and in 2017, he received the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government.
Bunny Wailer was 73.