Third World’s lead singer “Bunny Rugs” has died

bunny rugs

William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke

By Carmen Glover

For those who grew up on the island paradise of Jamaica listening to the sweet strains of exquisite reggae music, the soothing voices of Third World, Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor and Black Uhuru provided the soundtrack of a remarkable childhood. For those, and a legion of fans worldwide, it is a very sad to accept that William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke, the lead singer of the group Third World, whose poignant, searing voice gave the group its trademark sound, lost his battle to cancer and is with us no more.

William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke of reggae group Third World.

William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke of reggae group Third World.

Clarke, who was born on February 6, 1948, died hours ago, at the start of Reggae Month, in a Florida hospital, after being hospitalized in intensive care for a while. He would have celebrated his 66th birthday this coming Thursday.Clarke was also known as Bunny Scott and he began his musical career in the mid-1960s.  He was born in Mandeville, Jamaica. Clarke joined Third World in 1976, later enjoying the release of the hit album “96 Degrees in the Shade,” his first album with the group.

Third World Band with William "Bunny Rugs' Clarke in the middle.

Third World Band with William “Bunny Rugs’ Clarke in the middle.

Who can forget the beautiful notes to “Try Jah Love?” or the infectious melody of “Now That we’ve Found Love,” that late Heavy D took and blended with his own unique spin to create one of his most memorable hits? Who can forget Clarke’s clear vocal inflections on the anthem “Apartheid No” that railed against the injustices of the racist apartheid regime is South Africa?

According to reports by the Jamaica Obsever, Clarke was unable to participate in Third World’s 40th anniversary celebrations last year, due to illness. It was just four days ago that the paper reported that he was on the mend, after being hospitalized in Florida. Clarke also recorded music as a solo artist, releasing the album “Talking to You” in 1995. His 2012 single “Land We Love” from his album “Time” donating the profits to the Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund and the Chain of Hope charities. He received numerous awards for his music.

The passing of a legend is typically difficult to comprehend because it evokes an admixture of complex emotions. Clarke’s death is no different. Rest in Peace dear Bunny. Our hearts weep. Fans have flooded social media sites with tributes to the reggae icon, who, for many has gone too soon.—

Please follow us on Twitter @OnPointPress_.

Join the conversation and leave a reply.