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By Santana Salmon-Tyrone Downie, a loyal member of the iconic Jamaican band Bob Marley and The Wailers, died in Kingston on Sunday at age 66.
Tyrone Downie, a loyal member of the iconic Jamaican band Bob Marley and The Wailers, died in Kingston on Sunday at age 66. The Wailers disclosed the pianist’s passing on the band’s official Facebook page but did not disclose a cause of death.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart from the news that The Wailers’ own keyboard player, brother, and friend Tyrone Downie passed away today. Tyrone joined The Wailers just before the age of 20, making his recording dÃ©but with the band on Rastaman Vibration. When you hear the keys on Three Little Birds [and many others hits], you should always think of Tyrone. The Wailers and friends would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to Tyrone’s family. Rest in Power Tyrone. #RestinPower #TyroneDownie,” the statement read.
Downie studied at Kingston College and joined The Wailers in the mid-1970s, making his recording début with the band on Rastaman Vibration, having previously been a member of the Impact All Stars. It was while at KC that he played his first recording session on Eric Donaldson’s Cherry Oh Baby, which won the 1971 Festival Song Competition. He played on every Marley studio album after Live!, including Exodus, and Kaya. He remained a member of The Wailers following Marley’s death in 1981, touring Europe and the United States.
Nicknamed Organ D, Downie became one of the most in-demand session musicians in Jamaica during the 1970s. He played with The Abyssinians, Beenie Man, Black Uhuru, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Junior Reid, Tom Tom Club, Ian Dury, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly and Sly & Robbie. He resided in France and was a member of the touring band of Youssou N’Dour, whose album Remember he produced.
Downie released the solo album Organ-D in 2001.
Several members of the music fraternity have taken to social media to express their condolences at the passing as they recognize the impact he had on Jamaica’s musical landscape. (CNW)