Hibbert formed the Maytals as a trio with Nathaniel “Jerry” Mathiasin and Henry “Raleigh” Gordon in Kingston in 1962. The group released their debut, Sensational Maytals, in 1965, quickly found its popularity in Jamaica. They won the National Song Prize of Jamaica in 1966 with Hibbert’s song “Bam Bam”. As the group grew, they repeated the feat in 1969 with “Sweet and Dandy” and again in 1972 with “Pomps & Pride”, both written by Hibbert. In 1972, “Sweet and Dandy” and “Pressure Drop” appeared on the soundtrack of the Kingston crime film. The more they come, which helped introduce reggae to the American public.
In 1966, shortly after winning the National Song Award, Hibbert was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession of marijuana which he says was invented by corrupt authorities. The experience inspired him to write “54-46 Was My Number,” which became one of the Maytals’ best-known songs after its release in 1973. In the dark.
The Maytals have released their third album, Funky Kingston, in 1972 on Island Dragon Records, which helped bring the record to the UK. In 1975, another version of Funky Kingston was released in the United States with songs by In the dark and only three of the original tracks from the album. The American version helped solidify the group’s popularity in the United States, and they toured with the Who, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and the Eagles around its release.
Hibbert continued to release music throughout the 1980s and 1990s, both solo and with new iterations of Toots and the Maytals. It won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album for 2004 True love. The group’s last record was in August You have to be tough.
That month, Hibbert was hospitalized in an intensive care unit at a private facility in Kingston, where he was tested for COVID-19. September 2, Jamaica Gleaner reported that Hibbert’s condition worsened and he was in a medically induced coma at Kingston University Hospital in the West Indies. He is survived by his wife of 39 years and seven children, the group wrote on Twitter
Paying homage to Hibbert on Instagram, Ziggy Marley wrote, “I will miss her smile and laughter, her genuine nature. Toots was a father figure to me, his spirit is with us, his music fills us with his energy. I will never forget him.