Bunny Wailer, the last surviving founding member of The Wailers, has died at the age of 73, according to Rolling Stone. His manager Maxine Stowe confirmed the news.
According to the Jamaica Observer, he died earlier today at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, with no cause of death disclosed. When he had his second stroke in 2020, he was already in poor health.
Bunny was born Neville Livingstone in Jamaica’s St. Ann Parish’s Nine Mile district and rose to fame as a musical icon thanks to his work with The Wailers, which included childhood friend Bob Marley and later addition, Peter Tosh.
Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry joined the trio soon after, and they began releasing a string of international hits, which included “Simmer Down,” “Stir It Up,” “Is This Love,” “Jamming,” “Could You Be Loved,” “Buffalo Soldier,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” and “Redemption Song.”
While Marley and Tosh were the group’s primary songwriters, Wailer gave the band not only its name but also its unforgettable harmonies, according to Rolling Stone. In the early 1970s, the group toured the UK with Johnny Cash, bringing Jamaican music to a wider audience.
After the group’s new producer Chris Blackwell tried to rebrand them as “Bob Marley’s backup singers,” Wailer left in 1973. With Blackheart Man, he launched his own successful solo career. Wailer went on to win three Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album in 1991, 1995, and 1997.