Junior Braithwaite


Junior Braithwaite

Franklin Delano Alexander Braithwaite, better known as Junior Braithwaite (April 4, 1949 – June 2, 1999) was one of the founders of, and the first lead singer of The Wailers.

Junior Braithwaite was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in the same neighborhood where Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer (aka. Bunny Livingston) and Peter Tosh later lived. Higgs and Wilson, one of the top harmonizing groups in Jamaica at that time, used to rehearse in his backyard. The friends Braithwaite, Wailer, Marley, Tosh and Beverley Kelso, inspired by Wilson and Higgs, started singing together under various names, and in 1963 they became known as "The Wailers".

Braithwaite was with The Wailers for eight months and sung lead on such songs as, "Habits," "Straight and Narrow Way," "Don't Ever Leave Me," and "It Hurts To Be Alone." He had the best voice in The Wailers, according to Studio One's Coxsone Dodd, who discovered the band's talent. Bob Marley later commented that, "Junior used to sing high. It's just nowadays that I'm beginning to realize that he sounded like one of the Jackson Five. When he left we had to look for a sound that Bunny, Peter and me could manage."

He left the band in 1964 and moved to the United States with hopes of pursuing a medical career. He lived primarily in Chicago and southern Wisconsin for the next 20 years, and returned to Jamaica in 1984 to work with Bunny Wailer on a Wailers' reunion project. With the assassination of Peter Tosh in September 1987, plans for world tours with a reunited-Wailers never materialized.

Junior Braithwaite was murdered on the night of June 2, 1999 in the home of a fellow musician in Kingston, leaving only Bunny Wailer and Beverley Kelso as surviving members of the original Wailers.

References

* [http://www.iration.com/juniorbraithwaite Junior Braithwaite tribute site]
* [http://www.hermosarecords.com/marley/juniorbrtwt1.html Junior Braithwaite interviewed by Roger Steffens, 5 May 1985]
* [http://www.geocities.com/wailingwailers/jbbio.htm Junior Braithwaite Bio]


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