Toots sweet for half a century

SKA has come a long way since its beginnings 50 years ago.

From Jamaican performers such as Coxsone Dodd and Prince Buster to the punk infused sounds of The Specials to the 2Tone genre made famous by Madness.

But one man has been there from the start and is still going strong; ‘Toots’ Hibbert.

The lead singer in one of the world’s best loved ska and reggae groups, Toots and the Maytals, he is set to lead his band in the biggest UK tour of their illustrious career.

The Maytals formed in Kingston, Jamaica in 1961 and helped to popularised the reggae sound with hits such as “Do The Reggay” (widely acknowledged as the first song ever to feature the word ‘Reggae’), “Funky Kingston” “Reggae Got Soul”, and “Monkey Man”, which was subject to a resurgence following a cover by Reel Big Fish.

Toots told The Extra: “Everybody knows the UK is like a second home to me, so I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends and making some new ones on this very special anniversary tour”.

Over the last five decades, Toots has influenced countless artists including The Specials, The Clashand the late Amy Winehouse.

He has also toured with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow and Los Lonely Boys.

The band continue to add to their reputation, even going into their sixth decade.

Recently, Toots and The Maytals won a Grammy Award in 2005 for ‘Best Reggae Album’ with ‘True Love’.

The album consisted of re-recorded versions of their classics alongside legendary musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.

They also stole the show with a stunning performance at last year’s Glastonbury Festival, not to mention BBC’s documentary about the group, as part of their acclaimed ‘Reggae Britannia’ season in February this year.

The show this week is a must-see opportunity to witness one of reggae music’s true greats, live in action.

The show takes place on Thursday at the 02 Academy. Tickets available from ticketweb.co.uk or 0844 477 2000