Musical Heroes: Toots Hibbert


He was born Frederick Natahniel Hibbert on December 8, 1942 in May Pen, Clarendon.

As the child of strict Seventh-Day Adventist preachers, he grew up singing gospel music, but the death of both parents by age 11, sent him to Kingston to live with his older brother John in the Trench Town community.

There he would meet future Maytals bandmates Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias. Formed in 1961, Toots & the Maytals became one of the most popular Jamaican bands of the 60s, winning the National Popular Song Competition three times. Songs like “Bam Bam” and “Sweet and Dandy” have become classics, known and beloved worldwide.

After the break-up of the original Maytals in 1981, Toots continued as a solo act,releasing his own music and collaborating with several leading international artistes. His album, True Love, won the Reggae Grammy in 2005, and in 2011, was featured in the BBC documentary “Reggae Got Soul: The Story of Toots and the Maytals.

In August of 2012, Toots was honoured  with the Order of Jamaica OJ.

On September 11, 2020, Toots Hibbert died at the University Hospital of the West Indies,after complications from COVID-19. He is set to be laid to rest in the National Heroes Park.