‘Fly Away Home’ Jah B

Passage: Bunny Wailer

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment

The year 2021 was a challenging one for the entertainment sector which was reeling due to the onslaught coronavirus pandemic. It saw several entertainment personalities runni ng afoul of the law, the passing of some industry stalwarts, as well as some stage shows going the virtual route.

However, despite the challenges, a new crop of dancehall artistes emerged using social media to disseminate their messages.

Today, the Jamaica Observer’s Entertainment Desk begins its daily Year-in-Review looking at the big stories which grabbed the headlines throughout 2021.

Reggae music’s elder statesman, Bunny Wailer made his transition in a Kingston medical facility on March 2. The 73-year-old was admitted in the health facility in December the year before, after a second stroke.

As the news of his passing spread, tributes came in — from both home and abroad — for the musician/singer fondly referred to as Jah B.

In his tribute Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, said “this is a great loss for Jamaica and for reggae”.

“Undoubtedly Bunny Wailer will always be remembered for his sterling contribution to the music industry and Jamaica’s culture. May his soul Rest In Peace,” he tweeted.

Leader of Opposition, Mark Golding said Bunny Wailer’s legacy would live on.

“Bunny grew up in Trench Town, South St Andrew, the constituency I represent, so his passing truly hits home… He was a founding member of the Wailers, which has been the most influential contributor to the development of Jamaican popular music and, by extension, Brand Jamaica. We are proud that Jah B hailed from Trench Town in South St Andrew,” he posted on social media.

Shaggy in a Facebook post said: “This is a great loss for reggae and the Jamaican people and reggae fans around the world. You have made us proud king. rest well. Condolences to the family. R.I.P. Bunny … your music will forever wail!!!”

British radio DJ David Rodigan tweeted: “RIP Bunny Wailer. truly an iconic figure and music maestro whose solo career resulted in one of the most brilliant and inspiring albums in the entire Reggae lexicon…’ Blackheart Man‘.”

“His contribution to Jamaican music across the past 60 years is immeasurable,” he added.

His passing was covered by major international media outlets, including Rolling Stone, BBC, Variety, NBC, Guardian and USA Today.

Hailing from Trench Town, Bunny Wailer’s given name is Neville Livingston. He was a founding member of The Wailers, which included Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Through their music they preached the gospel of reggae and Rastafari to the four corners of the world.

Due to creative differences, the group split in 1976 and its core members went solo.

Marley died of cancer on May 11, 1981, while Tosh was killed at his St Andrew home on September 11, 1987.

Bunny Wailer’s albums include Blackheart Man, released in 1976, and Rock ‘n’ Groove which came out five years later. His hit songs include Cool Runnings, Ballroom Floor, Crucial, and Bald Head Jesus.

In 2017, the Jamaican Government invested Bunny Wailer with the Order of Merit, the country’s fourth-highest honour.

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