Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett, a member of the legendary group Bob Marley and the Wailers, has died at age 77.

Barrett was the bassist for the group.

Barrett’s son, Aston Jr. made the announcement on social media site Instagram on Saturday.

Aston Jr. says his father passed after a long illness.

William Mitchell reports.


Bob Marley and the Wailers had numerous hits. Aston ‘Familyman’ Barrett played bass on most of those songs. His fingerprint is on classics like ‘Three Little Birds’, ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ and ‘Stir it Up’.

Familyman Barrett served as the band’s father figure, hence the name, and musical director.

In 2012, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player Magazine and in 2020, he was selected as the number-one bassist by the staff of Bass Player Magazine, in their ranking of “20 legendary players who shaped the sound of electric bass.”

Rolling Stones Magazine ranked him 28th on their list of the 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time.

Meanwhile, in 2021, he was honoured with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) in the National Honours and Awards on Jamaica’s 59th Anniversary of Independence.

In addition to his decade-long tenure with the Wailers, Barrett also had stints with Lee “Scratch” Perry’s the Upsetters, the Aggrovators, and King Tubby’s house band.

He also played on other acclaimed reggae albums. These include Peter Tosh’s Equal Rights, Max Romeo’s Revelation Time, Keith Hudson’s Pick a Dub, and I-Roy’s Truth and Rights.

Mr. Barrett’s family has been embroiled in a dispute with the estate of Bob Marley over royalties. In 2006 Barrett’s family sued the Marley’s and Universal Island record label for £60 million in unpaid royalties.

The Barrett family lost the court battle.

But, past grievances were put aside on Saturday. Bob Marley’s official Instagram account paid tribute to Barrett, calling him a friend, partner and genius.