Toots & the Maytals
An adaptation of a recent article on Toots and the Maytals by Howard Campbell, journalist with the Jamaica Observer July 23, 2018.
Fifty-two years ago, when Toots and the Maytals won the inaugural Jamaica Festival Song Competition, the group was among the most popular bands in Jamaica. Today, the group is arguably, the most successful reggae touring act.
Their revival-inspired Bam Bam won them the first Festival Song Competition in 1966. The Maytals won again in 1969 with Sweet and Dandy and three years later with Pomp and Pride. Each song went beyond the Festival tag, as Toots Hibbert, Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathais, gained a following overseas at a time when Jamaican music was taking-off internationally. Sweet and Dandy is part of the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, a 1972 movie that helped introduce reggae to a global audience. Pomp and Pride is one of the songs in Toots and The Maytals' outstanding album Funky Kingston, released in 1973.
Their globe-trotting 40 years ago has paid off in the long run. For by the 1990s Toots Hibbert was a superstar, whose admirers included Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Ben Harper, Linda Ronstadt, and Lisa Marie Presley. The group toured with Sheryl Crow and James Blunt and is the only Jamaica Festival Song contestant to win a Grammy Award in 2005 with True Love.
Now 76 years old, Toots Hibbert is still the relentless road warrior. He and his band are currently touring the USA, playing at music festivals.