Sly and Robbie’s Robbie Shakespeare dies – legend known as ‘Wickedest Bass’ in reggae


Musician Robbie Shakespeare has died at the age of 68.

The renowned reggae bassist death was confirmed to The Jamaica Gleaner yesterday.

Shakespeare had been living abroad following having surgery on his kidneys at a Florida hospital.

The star has been named in the past as the 17th greatest bassists of all time in a list by Rolling Stone magazine.

The 68-year-old bought the music genre into new territory by playing on classics by Black Uhuru and Peter Tosh.

The musician also played on albums by rock icons such as Bob Dylan and Mike Jagger.

Following the sad news of his death, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Entertainment and Culture, told the Jamaica Observer: “Robbie’s loss will be severely felt by the industry at home and abroad. My condolences to those he leaves behind.”

Shakespeare was best known as one of the ‘Riddim Twins’ in Jamaican rhythm duo Sly & Robbie, which he starred in with drummer Sly Dunbar.

The pair first established themselves separately before teaming up together in the min-1970s.

Both were fans of Motown and country music, Sly was at the time drumming for Skin Flesh and Bones, while Shakespeare played bass and guitar with the Aggrovators.

Sly once said: “My mentor was the drummer for The Skatalites, Lloyd Knibb. And I used to listen a lot to the drummer for Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Al Jackson Jr., and a lot of Philadelphia.

“And there are other drummers in Jamaica, like Santa and Carly from The Wailers Band, Winston Bennett, Paul Douglas, Mikey Boo. I respect all these drummers and have learnt a lot from them.
“From them, I listened and created my own style. They played some things I copied, other things I recreated.”

They had a great career throughout the 1980s and worked with some of the biggest names after keeping mainstream interest in Jamaican music following the death of Bob Marley in 1981.

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