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The Wailers Biography


Home > Music > W > Wailers, The > Biography


Birth Place: Kingston, Jamaica
Years Active: 1963 - 1967, 1970 - 1974
Genres: Ska, Pop, Rocksteady 1963 - 1967, And Reggae 1970 - 1974


The Wailers were a ska, rocksteady, and reggae group formed in Kingston, Jamaica in 1963, consisting of Bob Marley, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Cherry Smith.

They were variously called The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys, The Wailing Wailers and finally The Wailers. By 1966 Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith had left the band, which then consisted of the trio Wailer, Marley and Tosh.

Some of The Wailers most notable songs were recorded with Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band The Upsetters. In the early 1970s The Upsetters members Aston "Family Man" Barrett and his brother Carlton (Carlie) Barrett , formed the Wailers Band, providing instrumental backing for The Wailers.

The Wailers recorded groundbreaking reggae songs such as "Simmer Down", "Trenchtown Rock", "Nice Time", "Stir It Up" and "Get Up, Stand Up".

The Wailers broke up in 1974, each of the three main members going on to pursue a solo career. Bob Marley achieved international fame with Bob Marley & The Wailers (with the Wailers Band as backing band and the I Threes as backing vocalists). Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer both enjoyed considerable solo success as reggae music continued to gain popularity through the 70s and 80s. They were supported by their respective backing bands Word, Sound and Power and The Solomonic Orchestra.

Most of the group's members have since died: Marley died in 1981, Tosh in 1987, Braithwaite in 1999 and Smith in 2008. Bunny Wailer and Beverley Kelso are the only surviving members of the original group.