Joseph Hill, lead vocalist and songwriter for traditional roots reggae group Culture, died Saturday. He was 57.
Joseph Hill, lead vocalist and songwriter for traditional roots reggae group Culture, died Saturday. He was 57. Hill abruptly fell ill and died in Berlin while the group were in the middle of a European tour, according to his daughter Andrea. She did not know the cause of death.
Culture will continue its summer concert tour as a tribute to the smooth-voiced tenor, with Hill's son Kenyatta taking on lead vocals. Funeral arrangements are pending.
One of reggae's most enduring bands, Culture was led by Hill for three decades. He penned the group's best-known songs, including "Two Sevens Clash," "Natty Never Get Weary" and "I'm Not Ashamed."
Born in the rural Jamaican parish of St. Catherine in 1949, Hill began his musical career in the late 1960s as a percussionist. As the Rastafarian influence on reggae grew in the 1970s, he formed Culture and remained its driving force through more than 30 albums.
Hill said "Two Sevens Clash," Culture's most influential record, was based on a prediction by Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the "sevens" met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day.
In 2005, the singer, a devout Rastafarian, was honored by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the island nation's culture.
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