Today Bunny Wailer has died. Born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Trench Town, Jamaica, in 1947, Wailer founded The Wailing Wailers in 1963 alongside fellow future reggae icons Bob Marley (his step-brother) and Peter Tosh before Marley launched his solo career and they changed the band’s name to The Wailers.
Known also as Bunny Livingston and Jah B, Wailer released some two dozen solo albums, along with 17 albums with Bob Marley and The Wailers. Eight of those were certified Gold in the U.S. and Britain, and the compilation Legend, featuring four Wailers songs—”Stir It Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Redemption Song”—became one of the most popular and most lauded albums of all time, selling an estimated 25 million copies worldwide since its 1984 release.
Wailer won two Grammy Awards in 1991 and 1995 and received Jamaica’s Order of Merritt in 2017. He suffered strokes in 2018 and 2020 and had been in and out of the hospital before his death in Kingston today, reported by The Jamaica Observer. No cause of death was given.
Listen to Bunny Wailer perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1986.