THE ballad Asking for Love, recorded by Fab 5 with the late Peter Scarlett on lead vocals, will go down in the annals of Jamaican music history as one of the most popular local love songs.
It’s smooth rhythmic patterns and haunting melody are only matched by the lyric composed by Ricky Walters, a guitarist with the popular show band between 1976 and 1992.
Walters died in Florida on Tuesday after battling cancer. In a statement, Fab 5’s Frankie Campbell expressed sorrow at the passing of his former bandmate.
“It is with deep regret that I have to report that Ricky Walters, former Fab 5 guitarist, died a short while ago. A fine guitarist/bassist, he wrote the Fab 5 hit ballad Asking for Love in 1978. He left Fab 5 in 1992 and moved to Florida, where he continued playing music in different locations in that state. Ricky was 66 on the 4th of June. He leaves behind his current wife and two children. RIP, Ricky. Keep playing your music with the other great musicians who went before you,” said Campbell.
Speaking of Asking for Love, Campbell shared that the song came at a time when the band had just begun to re-record as there was a lull after their initial music.
“We were ready to record and so we just asked persons to write. We recorded three songs... I wrote one, Grub [Cooper] wrote one and Ricky wrote Asking for Love. We all liked the song and it was actually recorded with live strings, not a sythesiser strings. The string ensemble was led by Peter Ashbourne and, of course, Peter [Scarlett] sang lead.”
“We recorded it and hoped for the best. Strangest thing is that it crept up on people. It got some airplay when it was first released back in 1978. By the 1980s the sound systems like Merritone picked it up and by the 90s it became the biggest Jamaican ballad, played alongside every genre of Jamaican music and it has just kept on growing. Even today it is still a favourite at sessions. I could never have told you that it would have enjoyed such a great run,” Campbell added.
The veteran musician further noted that after 16 years with the band, Walters decided to move on and was sorely missed by the Fab 5 family.
“He was a great all-round musician, singing lead and back-up, as well as writing, arranging and playing guitar. But on top of that, he was just a nice guy and we missed him so much when he left, and miss him even more today,” said Campbell.