R.I.P. Roy Head, 1960s Rocker Famous for “Treat Her Right” Dead at 79

Roy Head, the 1960s rocker best known for the smash hit “Treat Her Right”, has died at 79. According to the Montgomery County Police Recorderthe cause was heart attack

“Treat Her Right” was a sensation upon its release in 1965, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100, while boasting sales that would have made it number one at just about any other time — except that The Beatles had recently released “Yesterday”. The song has been a pop culture mainstay ever since, appearing over the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and popping up in the 1991 film The Commitments.

Head was born in Three Rivers, TX, on January 9th, 1941. His father was a sharecropper, and his love of music came from listening to Black sharecroppers singing in the field. “The melodic flow they had, it sounded like a lone wolf at night,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “They sang about pain and hurt, all that sort of stuff.”

After serving in the Army, Head joined up with a group of musicians who would soon be known as the Traits. While playing small venues in Texas, Roy Head & the Traits developed a reputation as a powerhouse live act led by their dancing, cartwheeling frontman. Head modeled himself after James Brown, and would pepper his performances with gravity-defying backbends and the occasional jump into the splits.

He continued putting out new music in the ’70s and ’80s, eventually transitioning from rock and R&B to country. To hear him tell it, his professional career was constantly beset by bad contracts and even worse drunken decisions. He claims that he once bit Elvis Presley on the ankle, and had to be forcibly dragged away by bodyguards. His son, Sundance Head, said of these stories, “I take what he says and divide by two. Then maybe something’s right with it.”

Head experienced a resurgence of popularity over the last 15 years, especially as Sundance booked spots on musical reality competitions. In 2007, Sundance was a semi-finalist on American Idol, and in 2016 he won The Voice outright. That winning run included a performance with coach Blake Shelton of “Treat Her Right”.

Sundance announced his father’s passing on social media. He wrote, “My old dad Roy Head has went to be with the lord this morning he was an amazing person and a wonderful dad. He slept away in the arms of my mother at home. I am in shock and also confused. He was a giant to me. I don’t know what else to say right now. Please keep my mother in your prayers and our family.”

R.I.P. Toots Hibbert, Reggae Pioneer and Frontman of Toots & The Maytals Dies at 77

Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert, founder of the pioneering reggae group Toots & the Maytals, has died at the age of 77.

Hibbert had been hospitalized in his native Kingston, Jamaica after contracting COVID-19. He passed away Friday, September 11th, surrounded by family, according to a statement.

By incorporating elements of Jamaican ska and rocksteady alongside traditional gospel, soul, R&B, and rock & roll, Hibbert is widely credit as being one of the originators of the reggae genre. In fact, Toots & the Maytals’ 1968 single “Do the Reggay” was the first song to use the word “reggae” and would ultimately give the genre its name.

In the early 1960s, Hibbert formed The Maytals alongside fellow vocalists Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Mathias and instrumentalists Jackie Jackson, Hux Brown, Rad Bryan, and Paul Douglas. After finding initial success working alongside producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd and his house band, The Skalites, The Maytals’ activities were briefly derailed after Hibbert was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in jail for possession of marijuana. However, while behind bars, Hibbert wrote “54-46 That’s My Number”, which would become one of The Maytals’ first hit singles.

Following Hibbert’s release from jail, The Maytals found fame beyond Jamaica thanks to singles including the aforementioned “Do the Reggay”, “Monkey Man”, and “Pressure Drop”, the latter of which is now considered one of reggae music’s defining songs. In 1972, Toots & The Maytals were further introduced to an international audience after their music was featured heavily in the popular Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come. The following year brought the release of their now seminal album, Funky Kingston.

Not only were Toots & The Maytals torchbearers of the Jamaican reggae movement, but the band’s music inspired the creation of a second genre in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s. Bands like The Specials, The Selector, and Madness combined elements of punk rock with ska and reggae to foster a sound that would come to be known as 2-tone. Notably, The Specials covered The Maytals’ “Monkey Man” on their 1979 debut, and The Clash recorded their own version of “Pressure Drop” in 1980.

Hibbert pursued a solo career in the 1980s, but reformed Toots & The Maytals the following decade and continued to lead the group up until his death. Toots & The Maytals currently hold the record for most No. 1 singles in Jamaica (39), and in 2004, they won their first Grammy with True Love, a collection of past hits re-recorded with collaborations like Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Trey Anastasio, No Doubt, and Manu Chao. Toots & The Maytals’ most recent album, Got to Be Tough, was released just last month.

Hibbert is surved by his wife of 39 year and seven children.