Days after Toots Hibbert’s death, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell is one of many persons to pay tribute to the reggae legend.
Blackwell said that he met Toots in 1961 and signed him to his record label about a decade later, producing his iconic Funky Kingston album in 1972.
He is now trying to come to terms with the death of the entertainer, who passed away on September 11 at 77 years old.
“He (Toots) was just a joy of a human being, a really special person.”— Chris Blackwell
“It’s incredibly sad that he’s gone,” said Blackwell told Billboard in a recent interview. “His spirit — he was laughing always, an incredible person. He was just a joy of a human being, a really special person.”
Blackwell, who has worked with the likes of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and Black Uhuru, said that he was amazed by Toots’ voice and musical abilities.
“I met Toots very early and was totally blown away by his voice and his energy. He was just somebody, you just loved him,” Blackwell said.
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As a pioneer in reggae music with songs like 54-46 That’s My Number, Pressure Drop and Sailing On, Blackwell said that Toots, who was the leader of Toots and the Maytals, will be remembered for years to come.
“I think his music, what he has done in his life, will become recognised and collected in the same kind of way that Bob’s music has over the years, where people who like Bob Marley like almost every record he’s ever made, that kind of thing,” Blackwell said.