Daily Observer (Jamaica)
Hall of Fame bid
An online petition to drum up support for reggae pioneer Toots Hibbert to be inducted in the rock and roll Hall of Fame was launched last week.
Hibbert, frontman for Toots and the Maytals, died on September 11 at age 77.
The initiative, ipetitions. com/petition/toots-forthe-rock-hall-of-fame, was started last Monday by California-based reggae historian Roger Steffens and Mike Pawka, principal of Jammin Reggae Archives, operator of niceup.com. The aim is to secure more than 5,000 signatures.
Wayne Jobson — Los Angeles-based radio talk show host and music producer — gave some insight into the project.
“We’ve been talking about it for a long time, but no one moved ahead with it. So it’s a thing where people can click on it... I’m actually spreading the word,” Jobson told the Jamaica observer. “Robbie Robertson, leader of The Band, was in Jamaica. He’s on the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Committee. Chris Blackwell and I said to him: ‘Toots needs to be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame because, one, he invented the word reggae and he was instrumental in the whole sound of reggae’... That was about two years ago. So finally with the petition, we can get it going.”
Blackwell is co-founder of Island Records. That label had a major role in introducing ska, rocksteady and roots-reggae to an international audience.
Established in April 1983, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland, Ohio. It honours the history of rock music, artistes, producers, engineers and other notable figures.
Bob Marley was inducted in 1994, 13 years after his death. Jimmy Cliff made the ‘Hall’ in 2010.
Jobson insists Hibbert’s name be similarly recognised.
“Bob Marley passed away like 40 years ago. Since then, Toots has been carrying the torch for reggae. Bob and Toots started out at the same time... Toots kept on touring the whole time and spreading reggae around the world. At 70, he got hit in the head with bottle that was thrown by a patron at a show in Virginia. And after that incident, he still kept on going,” said Jobson.
“He was so vitally important and all the people respected him. Apart from being an amazing performer that we know he is and apart from being an amazing singer, his songwriting was beyond brillance. So many people have covered his songs.”
That list of artistes includes Amy Winehouse, The Clash, No Doubt, Sublime, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton,
Robert Palmer, The Specials and Willie Nelson.
Jobson worked on several projects with Hibbert, including Live From Darryl’s