Robbie Shakespeare dies aged 68
Following his death, Jamaica’s Culture Minister Olivia Grange paid tribute to the Jamaican reggae singer, who is best known as one half of the rhythm section and production combo Sly and Robbie, alongside Sly Dunbar.
“[Sly and Robbie] pushed bass playing and drumming to new heights as they created music for themselves as a group, as well as for many other artists locally and worldwide,” she said in a statement.
The musician and record producer had recently undergone kidney surgery and was in a Florida hospital, according to Jamaica’s The Gleaner newspaper.
Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, paid homage to the late actor.
“My condolences to the family, friends, and fans of Jamaican Reggae artist and record producer, Robbie Shakespeare of the Sly and Robbie fame,” he said on Twitter.
“The iconic bassist Robbie Shakespeare helped record and produce recordings for a number of Reggae musicians, including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, U Roy, Culture, and Burning Spear, among others.”
“When it comes to Reggae bass playing, no one comes close to Robbie Shakespeare’s influence. He will be recognised for his contributions to the music business and the culture of Jamaica. May his spirit find eternal rest. (sic)”
Robbie collaborated with artists such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bob Dylan, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Paul McCartney, and Madonna, among others, and was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards over his career.
Robbie learned to play bass from Aston Barrett of Bob Marley’s reggae band The Wailers.
In the mid-1970s, he teamed up with Sly Stone for six albums, the most recent of which being 2014’s ‘Dubrising.’
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In 2005, he remarked of their collaboration, “Sly could start with a drum tone, and I say, ‘Boy, where the tempo at?'” ‘Ay, an excellent one, got you, just do your thing,’ he says.
“And it’s possible that I’ll get caught up in doing my thing – and everything will just fall into place.”
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