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Aston Barrett, the bassist of the legendary reggae band Bob Marley and the
Wailers, has died at the age of 77.
“Family Man”, as he was known, was born in 1946 and grew up in the Jamaican
capital, Kingston.
Announcing the death, his family said Barrett had been through a “long
medical battle” but gave no details.He was a key figure in the growth of reggae. He played on nearly all the
Wailers albums as well as for Burning Spear, Peter Tosh and many other acts.
In a social media post on Saturday, Barrett’s son Aston Barrett Jr said: “With
the heaviest of hearts, we share the news of the passing of our beloved Aston
‘Familyman’ Barrett aer a long medical battle.”
Aston Barret first gained fame as a member of the Upsetters, the backing
band of reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
He joined Bob Marley’s band in 1974.
His bass work is a key feature of many Wailers hits, including I Shot the Sheriff,
Get Up Stand Up, Stir It Up, Jamming, No Woman, No Cry and Could You Be
“The drum, it is the heartbeat, and the bass, it is the backbone,” Barrett once
said. “If the bass is not right, the music is gonna have a bad back, so it would be
Bob Marley died from cancer at the age of 36 in 1981. The Wailers continued
to perform, with numerous line-up changes and various singers filling Marley’s
Barrett told the BBC in 2013 that he had fathered 23 daughters and 18 sons.
“I am the family man,” he said. “I’m gied with 41 [children].”