Toots & the Maytals

With a passionate, soulful style, an exciting stage act and irresistible rhythms, Toots & The Maytals formed in 1962 and became one of the most influential acts in bringing reggae to international attention. The band's late founder, frontman and primary figure throughout their long career was Jamaican singer and guitarist Toots Hibbert, the youngest of seven children, who grew up singing gospel music in a church choir. After moving to Kingston in his teens he formed the Maytals with Nathaniel Matthias and Henry Gordon and met producer Clarence "Coxsone" Dodd, who was impressed by their close harmony vocals and put them in the studio with his house band The Skatalites. They went on to record with Prince Buster and Byron Lee and came to wider attention winning the Jamaican Independence Festival Song competition. After a spell in prison, Toots and the band began working with producer Leslie Kong, a productive partnership that resulted in a string of late 1960s hits fusing calypso and R&B with insistent rhythms, including 1968 single "Do the Reggay" (regarded as the first use of the word 'reggae' in song), "54-46 That's My Number," "Pressure Drop" and, their first international hit, "Monkey Man." The hits continued in the 1970s with "Funky Kingston" and "Reggae Got Soul" and although they never received the same level of international acclaim as their contemporaries Bob Marley and the Wailers, they were important figures in developing ska and popularizing reggae around the world. The onset of punk rejuvenated the band after The Specials and The Clash covered "Monkey Man" – also later covered by Amy Winehouse in 2006 – and "Pressure Drop" respectively, but they split in the 1980s after a glittering run that had yielded 31 Number 1 hits in Jamaica. Toots & The Maytals reunited in 2005, collaborating with Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots and Shaggy on True Love, re-recording their old hits, which won the 2005 Grammy for Best Reggae Album. In August 2020, Toots & The Maytals released their first studio album in over a decade, Got to Be Tough, which included a reimagining of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" with Ziggy Marley on vocals and Ringo Starr on percussion. Toots Hibbert died on September 11, 2020 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica due to complications from COVID-19.

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Stations Featuring Toots & the Maytals

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