Wednesday, December 8, 2021, closed the chapter on an period in reggae audio brought to life by the wickedest drum-and-bass duo in background – Sly and Robbie. On that day, Robbie Shakespeare, one particular 50 % of the dynamic duo, took his remaining breath, and as a testomony to the bass player’s legendary status, this celebration captured headlined throughout the world in all major information outlets.
The names ‘Sly and Robbie’ have appeared collectively for so lengthy that it was inescapable that they would turn into acknowledged as the Riddim Twins, and even though they certainly never appear alike, tales abound of people today not knowing who is Sly and who is Robbie, but 1 human being they do know is ‘Sly and Robbie’. In folks tales, they ended up acknowledged as Sly Drumbar (Dunbar) and Robbie Basspeare, and they have even been credited as these kinds of on Black Uhuru’s album, Red.
Sly and Robbie played on a thoughts-blowing 200,000 recordings although some sources estimate up to 50 % a million.
Robert Warren Dale Shakespeare was born on September 27, 1953, and grew up in East Kingston inside of a musical loved ones. His brother Lloyd experienced a band termed the Thoughts, which rehearsed in the property, and in accordance to his bio on Wikipedia, Shakespeare’s 1st instrument was an acoustic guitar.
On the other hand, soon after listening to the seems of the bass from the musician who would later develop into his mentor, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, Shakespeare was tuned into the bass for life. “I wan fi learn how to engage in this thing [bass]. You haffi instruct me,” he is quoted as recalling in an job interview.
When Relatives Man recorded, Shakespeare would consider to both equally hear to the session and view the bass player’s palms. Afterwards, the bassist would show Shakespeare the basslines recorded in man or woman at Shakespeare’s family household.
The youth from the interior city practised relentlessly and would increase to turn into 1 of the most formidable and internationally acclaimed bass players the world has ever known. After Relatives Gentleman left his team, the Hippy Boys, to join the Wailers, it was his student, Robbie Shakespeare, who took around actively playing bass in his former team. He was also was a member of producer Bunny Lee’s recording band The Aggrovators and performed the guitar on various hit tunes at Channel One particular.
Shakespeare’s initial collab with Sly Dunbar was when they played in the Channel One Studio dwelling band, The Revolutionaries. By 1974, the two began an unbiased audio generation organization and report label termed Taxi Information. They worked with reggae artistes, which include U-Roy, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Augustus Pablo, Yellowman, and Black Uhuru.
As a output staff, theirs was a marriage created in musical heaven. In an interview with British newspaper The Impartial in 1997, Shakespeare mentioned, “The longest we’ve been aside in the very last 25 many years is about a few weeks. I’ll go on holiday getaway with my loved ones, and as soon as I arrive at the put I’m likely to, I want to be again with Sly, taking part in audio.”
And taking part in did not imply only reggae and dancehall. The Riddim Twins also labored with acts this sort of as Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, Joe Cocker, Yoko Ono, No Doubt, Serge Gainsbourg, Sting, Dionne Warwick, Grace Jones, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones.
Shakespeare’s bassline on the Tamlins’ Baltimore is legendary, and he assisted produce the exceptional appears heard in two of reggae and dancehall’s most enduring music, Murder She Wrote and Bam Bam. They also generated tunes for film soundtracks, together with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Poetic Justice.
Factmag.com notes that “Sly and Robbie also made a sequence of summary concept albums with underground figurehead Invoice Laswell in New York right before returning to the dancehall fray in Jamaica for hits with Chaka Demus and Pliers, Beenie Male, Capleton and the Innocent Kru, among the others. More function with Jamaican actress-singer Cherine Anderson and collaborations with No Question and Sinead O’Connor saved them in desire internationally – even Paris Hilton requested their generation help.”
With reggae and dancehall artistes, and in fact, the entire world paying out tribute to Robbie Shakespeare, reggae historian, David Rodigan wrote, “The bass is almost everything in reggae audio, and Robbie Shakespeare played his bass guitar like no person else. He designed the conquer fall, speaker containers shook, and we rocked. His passing is a tragic reduction. His contribution to the style is immeasurable. RIP Robbie Shakespeare.”
On Thursday, Shakespeare’s son, Shawn, wrote on Instagram: “Yesterday the globe missing a legend … but yesterday I misplaced my father.”
Recipient of the Get of Distinction, Robbie Shakespeare was awarded the Gold Musgrave Medal in 2015 by the Institute of Jamaica.