Former Bob Marley and The Wailers keyboardist, Tyrone Downie, has died,
This 12 months has been one where a lot of the muse reggae artists have transitioned. One other of the stalwarts and pioneers of that era, Tyrone Downie, has passed on the age of 66. Downie was an important member of the enduring Bob Marley and The Wailers band. The talented organist/keyboardist died in Kingston, Jamaica, yesterday, November 6, at age 66. The Wailers acknowledged the death of Downie and expressed their condolences using their Facebook page. Nevertheless, notably, they didn’t reveal what his reason behind death was.
“It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart from the news that The Wailers’ own keyboard player, brother, and friend Tyrone Downie passed away today,” the start of the statement on Instagram read. “Tyrone joined The Wailers just before the age of 20, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration. While you hear the keys on Three Little Birds (and lots of others hits), it’s best to at all times consider Tyrone. The Wailers and friends would love to supply our heartfelt condolences to Tyrone’s family. Rest in Power Tyrone.”
Downie joined The Wailers just before the age of 20 and made his recording debut with the band on the album Rastaman Vibration. In addition they acknowledged that he was behind the keys on “Three Little Birds.”
Tyrone Downie led a successful musical profession that began while he studied at Kingston College and joined The Wailers within the mid-Seventies. Besides The Wailers, he played with Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Black Uhuru, Peter Tosh, Tom Tom Club, Junior Reid, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, and lots of more iconic reggae bands and artists.
At one point in his life, Tyrone Downie lived in France and toured as a part of the band Youssou N’Dour. He would go on to provide their album Remember. In 1983, Grace Jones drops her song “My Jamaican Guy,” which many believed to be about Downie, despite the fact that the 2 weren’t known to be romantically linked on the time.
The talented keyboardist was from Cockburn Gardens in Kingston, and his enormous talent was first spotted by Douglas Forrest, head of Kingston College’s music department. It was while at the varsity he played on Eric Donaldson’s “Cherry Oh Baby” and the remainder is history.
That track went on to win the 1971 Festival Song Competition. The Jamaica Observer spoke with Tommy Cowan, who produced “Cherry Oh Baby,” and he shared a bit more about Downie’s musical prowess.
He shared that he saw Downie playing on Windward Road in early 1971 and liked his style. He said on the time, Downie was still only a schoolboy.
“I used to be about to provide Eric Donaldson with “Cherry Oh Baby” with the Inner Circle band I went for Tyrone at KC, took him from school to the studio, and asked Ibo Cooper to shift from piano to organ and permit Tyrone to play. I believed Tyrone had a fresh and nice sound so it will be a plus adding him to the music,” he continued.Downie would eventually leave his education within the fourth form to pursue music full-time.
The choice would prove prudent, and the renowned musician, referred to as Organ D, became one of the vital recognized musicians within the early days of the reggae genre.
Tyrone Downie is credited on Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It,” in addition to “Blackheart Man” by Bunny Wailer and Burning Spear classic “Marcus Garvey.”
Urban Islandz extend condolences to Tyrone Downie’s family and friends.