A founding member of the Wailers and a long association with Bob Marley would be enough to lock Bunny Wailer in as a reggae great, There is much more to his story as Bunny Wailer left the group in 1973 to forge a solo career that has produced multiple Grammys.
Bunny Wailer was born Neville O’Riley Livingston in Kingston.After moving to Saint Ann, he met Bob Marley as a boy and they became fast friends. After both families moved back to Kingston, the pair met Peter Tosh and Junior Braithwaite and the Wailers came together.
By ‘73 the band was on the verge of international stardom, but after a tour, Bunny Wailer announced that he would remain in Jamaica and not participate in the next overseas tour. Sonn the Wailers were no more, and Bunny Wailer started his own record label and a successful solo career. In 1976 Livingston released the first album as a solo Bunny Wailer effort, the highly praised Blackheart Man.
After Bob Marley passed in 1981, Bunny Wailer was committed to keeping the legacy of the Wailers alive, which he did through a series of albums but more importantly a return to live performances. Bunny Wailer had not performed since a975 but returned as co-headliner with Stevie Wonder in a 1982 charity concert.
Bunny Wailer was committed to remaining current while preserving the legacy of earlier reggae music. Over his long career Wailer won three Grammys for his solo albums and a fourth as part of the Toots and the Maytals collaboration True Love. In 2018 Wailer suffered a minor stroke and then had another stroke in 2020. He did not recover from the second one and passed away in March of this year.