Tribute to Frederick “Toots” Hibbert

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It was terribly sad to hear of the death of reggae legend Frederick “Toots” Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals. His unique, gospel influenced music was fantastic to listen and dance to. It was deeply political and inspirational. “54-46 Was My Number” and “Pressure Drop” are unforgettable tracks with passionate, political lyrics that talk of struggle and injustice. The title of the former refers to his prison number after wrongful arrest. The latter is a reminder to those in power that the day will come when they will fall. It was covered by The Clash amongst others. It featured in the seminal 1972 film The Harder They Come, which brought reggae to an international audience. Born in Jamaica, Toots moved to the capital Kingston in 1961 to pursue a career in music, having learnt his vocal craft gospel singing in his youth. After many years of international success, he started the Toots Foundation to channel funds to projects for underprivileged children and communities in Jamaica. His latest album, Got to Be Tough, features “Warning Warning”, a polemic on ecological catastrophe. His powerful legacy will resound as long as there are people who fight back and dance whilst doing so.