Hard times hit Headley

By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer staff reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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MUSICIAN Headley 'Deadly Headley' Bennett, who played on Bob Marley's first song, has fallen on hard times and is appealing for assistance to pay mounting medical bills.

Now 82 years old, Bennett suffers from back and prostate problems which requires monthly visits to a physician.

"Each visit is $10,000, plus I have to buy medication," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Bennett says he also struggles to pay his rent.

"It's really hard. I have to find taxi fare to go to the doctor, plus try to keep up with my living expenses. It's not easy."

Bennett says he is a member of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Associates (JAVAA) but he has not been visited by any of its executive.

"They are aware of my problem, but I have not heard anything," he said.

A past student of the Alpha Boys School, Bennett was a top session musician during the early 1960s. In 1962, he played on Judge Not, the first song recorded by a singer named Bob Marley.

One of Bennett's finest moments is his searing solo on singer Delroy Wilson's 1965 hit song Dancing Mood.

During the 1960s, he was a member of the Studio One house band as well as Lynn Taitt's The Jets and The Mighty Vikings.

In the late 1970s, he hooked up with the Roots Radics Band, playing on several hit songs by Gregory Isaacs and Bunny Wailer.

It was during that period that he got the nickname, Deadly Headley.

In 2005, Bennett was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for his contribution to the development of the country's music.

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