Jamaican singer and percussionist Bunny Wheeler, a legend of reggae music, was absent from death, as he died Tuesday at the age of 73 at Andrews Memorial Hospital in Kingston (Jamaica), and his departure marked the end of an era for this musical movement.
And Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grange announced Wheeler’s death. The cause of the death of the singer, who, together with Bob Marley and Peter Touche, founded the band “The Wheelers”, transforming reggae music into a global phenomenon.
Wheeler, whose real name is Neville Livingston, suffered a first stroke in 2018 and then a second last July, and was still the only survivor of the historic trio.
Bunny Wheeler was born in 1947 in Nine Mile (North Jamaica), where Bob Marley met a child, and they developed a friendship.
Wheeler and Marley moved to Trunch Town, an area in Kingston, where they were influenced by their meeting with Joe Higgs, considered by many to be the pioneer of reggae music, and he encouraged them to form the first trio with Peter Touche.
In a 2013 interview, Banny Wheeler recounted that Higgs “devoted time at the expense of his career” to teaching the three teens about musical techniques, since none of them had studied music before that.
The group changed its name several times, before releasing its first CD, “The Willing Wheelers” in 1965, which combined American music, especially Rham and Blues, with Jamaican culture.
With his charismatic figure, beard and hat, Bani Wheeler was crucial in the development of this musical genre.
“We’ve lost an icon,” said the head of Jamaican reggae group ETF Band, commenting on Wheeler’s death. “It is a pity that the young people who are part of the Jamaican music scene do not realize what Banny Wheeler has achieved,” he added.
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