Jamaica Bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, credited for the success of Bob Marley & The Wailers, has died, the family and his former music group announced on Saturday.
Barrett is credited as one of the founding fathers of reggae music and was the bassist for some of the biggest projects in the genre by artists like Burning Spear, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley & the Wailers, and many more.
On Saturday, many shared condolences to the family of Barrett, who confirmed that he died on Saturday morning. According to his son, Aston Barrett Jr., he passed after a medical battle.
“With the heaviest of hearts, we share the news of the passing of our beloved Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett after a long medical battle,” Barrett Jr. wrote. “This morning, the world lost not just an iconic musician and the backbone of The Wailers but a remarkable human being whose legacy is as immense as his talent. Our family is asking for privacy during this challenging time, as words cannot express our profound loss.”
Barrett, who was honored by the Jamaican government with the national award- Order of Distinction, was known as a prolific musician and the “backbone” of the reggae genre due to his unique sounds captivating the world via the Bob Marley & the Wailers music.
As the bassist, he is credited for almost all of the band’s music, working with his brother Carlton, a drummer. Barrett also worked with the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry’s The Upsetters, the Aggrovators, and King Tubby’s house band, Peter Tosh (Equal Rights), Max Romeo (Revelation Time), Keith Hudson (Pick a Dub), and I-Roy (Truth and Rights) and many others.
His work is resounding in almost all of Bob’s hits, including the songs “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Stir It Up,” “Jamming,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Three Little Birds,” “Could You Be Love,” “Is This Love,” and others.
On Twitter, Bob Marley’s official account confirmed Family Man’s passing.
“It is with tears in our hearts and eyes that we share the news from Aston Barrett Jr. that his father, our beloved friend, musical partner, bredrin Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, has made the transition from the physical world,” the account ran by the Bob Marley Foundation wrote. “Anytime we listen to the music pay close attention to the genius of Fams on the bass. A pioneer, unique, trendsetter, revolutionary in the musical space and most of all as his name implies a true family man. Condolences to his family.”
Jamaican Minister of Culture and Entertainment Babsy Grange revealed that Barrett died at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida in the United States early on Saturday.
“This pioneer of Jamaican music was also a mentor to many Jamaican artistes and musicians including the ‘Riddim Twins’, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare,” she wrote. “As we commemorate Reggae Month 2024, I wish to express my sincere condolences to his wife, his children, his relatives and to members of the local and international Reggae Music fraternity.”
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Ziggy Marley hails Aston Barrett as one of their musical teachers in his tribute. “We teacher gone. Aston Family Man Barrett @famsbass his feel and spaces in his style has inspired me and so many more in our own creation. We will continue to study his genius for generations to come. We will miss his physical presence still his spiritual energy and teachings endures. Love to @jr.astonbarrett and the entire Barrett family. RIP Father. JAH Live,” Ziggy Marley wrote.