One Big Holiday
One Big Holiday

Toots And The Maytals

Toots and the Maytals is a legend of Ska and Reggae. His sound is a unique, original combination of Gospel, Ska, Soul, Reggae and Rock. Frederick “Toots” Hibbert grew up singing gospel music in a church choir, meeting Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” McCarthy in Kingston and forming a group whose early recordings were attributed to “The Flames”.

Fixing on the nickname of the lead singer, the name ‘Maytals’ was chosen for the group. The vocal trio recorded their first album, Never Grow Old – presenting the Maytals, for producer Clement “Sir Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One in 1962-63, with musical backing from Dodd’s legendary house band, the Skatalites. The Maytals’ close-harmony gospel singing ensured instant success – rivalling the success of Dodd’s other up-and-coming trio, The Wailers.

After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording their second album for Byron Lee in 1965. The band’s musical career was however interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was framed, arrested and wrongfully imprisoned on charges of marijuana possession. Hibbert’s record has since been expunged. Following Hibbert’s release from jail towards the end of 1967, the band officially changed their name to Toots & the Maytals.

The group’s first international hit Monkey Man followed in 1970. By 1972, the group was featured in one of the 1972 cult classic Perry Henzel film and soundtrack that marked Reggae’s greatest first breakthrough – The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff. Released by Island Records, the album was named as one of Vanity Fair’s Top 10 Best Soundtracks of all time.

Having toured throughout the world for many years, Toots & the Maytals disbanded in the early 1980s, but reformed in the early 90s and continue touring and recording to this day.

A five time Grammy nominee, Toots & the Maytals won the 2005 Grammy Award with True Love for Best Reggae album. The album featured re-recorded classics hits alongside popular and legendary artistes including Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots and Shaggy.

The Toots & the Maytals catalogue has been covered by artistes from Amy Winehouse to Sublime as the artiste’s influence on popular music remains relevant. Having been absent for touring for a few years due to injury, it is with utter pride and joy that we welcome this living legend to the Wilderness main stage.