The Wailers

Blog,legendary reggae artists 10/26/2013 3:03 pm

You can’t discuss reggae without talking about The Wailers. Originally composed of legends Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and the great Bob Marley, the Wailers started originally as a ska band, taking advantage of the new style coming out of the sound systems of Trenchtown. One of the first stylistic changes they made, however, was to start to slow down the beat and make the bass more prominent, gradually transforming their sound into what would be known as reggae. By the end of 1963, less than a year after they formed, they already had added Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith to what would be one of the most transformative bands in history.

The Wailers became the faces of the genre, specifically Marley whose affable nature, spiritual study, andimpassioned cries for justice resonated with the 60s counterculture, many of whom discovered their sound after Clapton’s famous cover of I Shot the Sheriff. Ironically, the lineup of the band would be constantly in flux, changing often and eventually losing both Tosh and Wailer in 1974. Bob Marley replaced them and would continue to find new talent to fill in for people who left, slowly shifting the sound of the band to better fit with his ballad-writing talent, which proved to be the biggest draw for the Wailers during the height of their career and well into their decline.

Marley died in 1981, and most of the rest of the band’s original lineup followed shortly, with only Bunny Wailer and Beverley Kelso still alive of the first group.