A sad moment for the music industry all over the world and specially for reggae. Former Lead Singer of Third World Band & solo Entertainer, William Clarke better known as Bunny Rugs died in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday.
Jamaica’s reggae ambassador would have turned 66 on Thursday, February 6, he had been in intensive care for some time. He was released from the Intensive Care Unit of an Orlando hospital last week after two weeks of treatment for leukemia.
Clarke was born in Mandeville and replaced ‘Prilly’ Hamiltion as lead singer for the band in 1976. His first album with the band was ‘96 degrees in the Shade’ but is best known for the hits ‘Now that we found Love’ an O’Jays original, and ‘Try Jah Love’.
Clarke is survived by his wife and eight children. Unfortunately we have not much info on his wife but we do know on his 2012 album, “TIME’s” which showcases moods range from romantic musings of “We’ve Got The Formula”, “Settling Down” and “You’re my Everything”, which Rugs wrote for his wife…
…to the solemn societal observations of “Solutions” and the inevitable acceptance of “just another lesson learned” on “It’s TIME”. “Don’t Give It Up” is an anthem of against-all-odds persistence and “Neva Gonna Give Up” offers praises to the Almighty as an inspiring and ongoing source of strength. The bonus track, “Land We Love: Jamaica” marks the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.
We are sure his lovely wife, was the inspiration for many of his songs. With 10 Grammy nominations, 23 albums, and a plethora of awards including the prestigious United Nations Peace Medal, Rugs’ soulful delivery provided illustrious musical standards that has earned Third World numerous hits and countless awards over the past 38 years.
Rugs’ singing has been creating a positive vibe for nearly 50 years. Born on February 6, in Mandeville, Jamaica, and raised in downtown Kingston, he was given the nickname “Bunny” from his grandmother because he liked to “jump around” and “Rugs” from his band mates “when they found out I liked to sleep on rugs and the floor.”
Escaping from his mother’s wishes to sing in the church, 15-year-old talented Rugs auditioned at Kittymat Club on Maxfield Ave. The club’s manager Horace Forbes was so impressed by Rugs’ vocals he was chosen as the lead singer for the house band, Charlie Hackett & The Souvenirs. The rest of his career was written in the stars for sure. Although success wasn’t easy at first; moving to New York- working as a cab driver- his love for music got him the worldwide recognition, fame, awards he has now.
Our condolences to his wife and rest of his family. R.I.P Bunny Rugs.