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The Last Wailer

Here is an excellent and detailed profile of the great Bunny Wailer from the January 2011 issue of GQ magazine.


by John Jeremiah Sullivan

In early July, I flew to Jamaica in hope of contacting Bunny Wailer, the last of the Wailers, Bob Marley’s original band. If you don’t know who he is—and of the people who see GQ, surely a goodly percentage won’t know; to the rest it will seem asinine to ID such a major figure; either way, though, this is worth doing—find a computer clip of the Wailers performing “Stir It Up” on The Old Grey Whistle Test, a music show that used to run on the BBC. It was 1973, their first real tour. Bunny is off to Bob’s left, singing the high part and doing a little repetitive one-two accent thing with brushes on snares. He’s wonderfully dressed in a tasseled burgundy Shriner’s fez and abstract Rastafarian sweatervest. All three of them look like they could have been in Fat Albert’s gang. Possibly no group of musicians has ever looked flat cooler. Peter Tosh was a tall, purple sphinx with an inexplicably sweet falsetto. If Elvis had walked in, Tosh might have nodded.


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