Entertainment & Arts

Bob Marley saxophonist Headley Bennett dies aged 85

Bob Marley
Image caption Bob Marley played on numerous hit reggae songs

Saxophonist Headley Bennett, who played on Judge Not, Bob Marley's first song, has died at the age of 85.

His daughter, Carol Bennett, confirmed the musician died on Sunday.

She did not give an official cause of death, but said her father had suffered from high blood pressure and was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Bennett played on numerous hit reggae songs by artists including Bunny Wailer and Gregory Isaacs.

He was awarded the order of distinction, Jamaica's sixth highest honour, by the government in 2005.

Image copyright BBC / Getty Images
Image caption Bennett appeared on songs by Gregory Isaacs and Jimmy Cliff

Bennett was a graduate of the Alpha Boys School in Jamaica's capital of Kingston, which was also attended by saxophonist Tommy McCook and trombonist Don Drummond, both of whom also became reggae pioneers.

He was a session musician at producer Leslie Kong's Beverley's Records in 1962 when Marley, then aged 16, recorded Judge Not - a ska song.

That year, Bennett also played on Hurricane Hattie, the first hit song by 14-year-old James Chambers, who later became famous as Jimmy Cliff.

Bennett is survived by a brother, two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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