Frederick "Toots" Hibbert and The Maytals are recognized legends of reggae and ska. Toots is considered by many as an architect of reggae music and the godfather of ska. Toots and The Maytals have helped navigated the Jamaican music worldwide, putting the R in Reggae.
Toots was born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica. As the youngest of seven children, he had a passion for music and at age seven he began singing in the church choir. In the early 60’s, in his teens, he left his home to live in the capital, Kingston. In the capital he met Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias and formed the original Maytals, in 1962.They began their career at the Studio One label.
Although reggae was being played long before he started singing, Toots is responsible for engineering the word "reggae" from the slang, "streggae" which was being used at the time in Jamaica. It was a nickname given to someone who did not dress properly.
Toots and The Maytals are responsible for producing and writing some of the most famous songs in reggae music. One of which was the hit single "Do the Reggay". They have influenced and helped developed a new style of music, from R & B to Ska and from Gospel to Reggae. Ska music became popular in clubs throughout Jamaica and England, when Toots and The Maytals moved from Studio One and linked up with Prince Buster, who is considered a legendary figure in the music business.
He produced several singles for Maytals which include ‘Dog War’, aka ‘Broadway Jungle.
In 1966 and in 1972, the Maytals worked with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires to capture the prize of first place in the Jamaican Festival Song Competition with the hit song ‘Bam Bam’ and ‘Pomp and Pride’.
In the late 60’s, Toots was arrested for possession of marijuana and was incarcerated for 18 months. In 1968 the Maytals returned stronger than ever to release their first single in two years (54-56, That’s my Number) along with the story of his arrest, which was one of the greatest singles of all.
In 1976 Toots and The Maytals hit the British singles chart with the title track from their new album, ‘Reggae Got Soul’. They signed a recording contract with Chris Blackwell’s UK based Island Record in 1975. They promoted their albums by touring America, Europe and Britain.
Their popularity increased throughout the 70’s. In September of 1980 they made history when reggae was played at London’s Hammersmith Palais. Within 24 hours, a live album from that show was on sale in Britain. It was considered to be the fastest release of a live album in recording music history.
Toots and The Maytals have held the record for the most number of number one hits in Jamaica with 31. They are the only Jamaican artistes to have both sides of one of their singles records, become number one, on Jamaican Hit Parades, ‘Daddy' and 'It’s you’. They have also been nominated four times for Grammy Awards with nomination for ‘Ska Father’, ‘Toots in Memphis’, ‘Toots Live', and his latest, 'True Love’.
In 2004, he released the album True Love. It is the best selling record of this veteran's career and also earned him a Top 5 AAA single with his duet Bonnie Raitt, ‘True Love is Hard To Find’.
This album has allowed Toots to performed at various high profile TV night shows, which include: Saturday Night Live with special guests Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, The Roots and Bootsy Collins, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with special guest Bonnie Raitt, and an appearance on Willie Nelson & Friends, Outlaws & Angels Specials.