There are or have been - at least - two bands named The Wailers:
- The legendary Jamaican reggae band (founded as a ska group 1963, and became a Rastafarian reggae band in 1968), renamed Bob Marley & The Wailers in 1974, which are still active led by bassist Aston Barrett after Marley's death in 1981.
- The Fabulous Wailers, a rock and roll and garage band from the USA, active 1958-1969, first led by John Greek, replaced in 1960 by Rockin' Robin Roberts.
1) Bob Marley & The Wailers have together sold in excess of 255 million albums worldwide. Since they are extraordinary popular also in poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America with big markets for pirate copies the total amounts of albums sold has been estimated to over 1 billion. In England alone, they've notched up over 20 chart hits, including seven Top 10 entries. In USA on the other hand, Bob Marley & The Wailers reached superstar status only after Marley's death, with the album Legend , focusing on the person Bob Marley but not on the band. Outside of their groundbreaking work with Marley, the Wailers have also played or performed with international acts like Sting, the Fugees, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and Alpha Blondy, as well as reggae legends such as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and Burning Spear. As the greatest living exponents of Jamaica's reggae tradition, the Wailers have completed innumerable other tours, playing to an estimated 24 million people across the globe. They have also been the first reggae band to tour new territories on many occasions, including Africa and the Far East.
Their nucleus formed in 1969, when the vocalist group "The Wailers" (formed 1963 by Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh) requited the talented Barrett brothers: bassist Aston "Family Man" and drummer Carlton (writer of well-known Marley songs like "War" and "Talking Blues", 'sound-maker' of more Marley songs, developer of the one drop style in reggae music) played on hits such as Lively Up Yourself, Trenchtown Rock, Duppy Conqueror, and many more besides. Inspired by Rastafari and their ambitions of reaching an international audience, this is the line-up that pioneered roots rock reggae, and signed to Island Records in 1971. Bunny and Peter left two years later. It was at this point that the in-demand Barrett brothers - whose rhythms also underpinned innumerable seventies' reggae hits by other acts - assumed the title of Wailers, and backed Marley on the group's international breakthrough album, Natty Dread. Under Family Man's musical leadership, they then partnered Bob Marley on the succession of hit singles and albums that made him a global icon, winner of several Lifetime Achievement awards, and Jamaica's best-loved musical superstar.
Drummer Carlton "Carlie" Barrett was murdered 1987, leaving his brother as the main beneficiary of the Wailers' mantle. Subsequent line-ups have revolved around Family Man, who is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest bass players. Modest and unassuming, he was present on all of those unforgettable performances by Bob Marley & The Wailers from the seventies. Family Man continues to be the main axis of the current Wailers - a group that's one of the last, great reggae institutions, yet which refuses to live off past glories. That's because Family Man represents tried and trusted roots authenticity and, along with the Wailers, injects fresh excitement into a show that continues to attract enthusiastic audiences from around the world.
2) The Fabulous Wailers were an American rock band from Tacoma, Washington. Formed around 1958, they are often considered the first garage rock group. They performed a hybrid of saxophone-driven rnb and Chuck Berry rock and roll.
Five 45s (four released in 1959, including Tall Cool One, and one in 1960) and an LP release, The Fabulous Wailers (released December 1959 on Golden Crest Records), put the Wailers on the national scene. Their 1961 cover of Louie Louie, which they recorded as a backing band for singer Rockin' Roberts, was the first to use the trademark 1-2-3, 1-2, 1-2-3 riff. Their version inspired other groups from the Seattle area, most notably the Kingsmen of Portland, Oregon, to record the same song. The Fabulous Wailers' influence established the Pacific Northwest area as a center for musical innovation and the home of a long string of regional favorites playing a kind of raunchy, amateur, yet passionate, form of rock and roll.
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