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Toots for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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Frederick “Toots” Hibbert belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Not only did he create the word “reggae” in his 1968 song “Do the Reggay,” but he was also featured in the groundbreaking film The Harder They Come, alongside good friend and Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Cliff.

Toots sped through a 60-year career that careened from one triumph to another, limning the day-to-day levity of the sufferers in all their bittersweet glory. As a British encyclopedia once wrote: “No artist ever painted a broader and truer canvas of daily life in Jamaica than Toots. The full-blooded celebrations of ‘Sweet and Dandy’; the screaming cry against injustice in ‘54-46’; the harsh strains of ghetto life in ‘Pressure Drop’; the sheer exuberance of first love in ‘It’s You’; the happy companionship of ‘Never You Change’; the ever-present threat of violence described in ‘Bam Bam’.”

Often referred to as “The Otis Redding of Jamaica,” Rolling Stone included Toots in their list of the Greatest Vocalists of All Time. Recording greats jumped at his invitation to record together: Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Gwen Stefani, Willie Nelson, and a 2020 collaboration with Ringo Starr, to name a few. Toots’ latest album Got to Be Tough (co-produced by Zak Starkey, Ringo’s son), was released two weeks prior to his passing from COVID-19. As a final tribute, Got to Be Tough is nominated for 2020’s Best Reggae Album Grammy Award.

Asked if Toots’ work bears comparison to others already in the Rock Hall, guitarist Warren Haynes says Toots “stands among the giants, like Otis, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke.” Ziggy Marley calls him “a father figure.” Trey Anastasio concurs: “Like so many people, I’ve loved his music my entire life. It was ubiquitous, playing at parties and gatherings. It felt like an element, like air."

Please, join in and add your voice to everyone petitioning the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to induct the unforgettable music legend Toots Hibbert. We ask that you share this information and link with family, friends, and everybody who feels the same way!

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