R.I.P. Third World lead singer Bunny Rugs Clarke

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    William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke, the lead singer of  reggae band Third World, has died of complications from cancer at age 65. He fronted the group during its hitmaking heyday and also had some success as a solo artist.

    Born in Mandeville and raised on John's Lane in Kingston, Jamaica, Clarke was given the name 'Bunny Rugs' by a combination of his childhood nickname 'Bunny' (because he would "jump around the house like a rabbit") and from a member of the Third World road crew calling him 'Rugs' because of his liking for sleeping on the floor.

    He joined Charlie Hackett and the Souvenirs, the resident band at the Kitty Club on Maxfield Avenue, in the mid-1960s before leading the early lineup of Inner Circle in 1969. A spell living in New York City followed from 1971 where he was a member of the dance band Hugh Hendricks and the Buccaneers, and later the Bluegrass Experience with Glen Adams, Eric Frater and Sparrow Martin.

    William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke, the lead singer of  reggae band Third World, has died of complications from cancer at age 65. He fronted the group during its hitmaking heyday and also had some success as a solo artist.

    Born in Mandeville and raised on John's Lane in Kingston, Jamaica, Clarke was given the name 'Bunny Rugs' by a combination of his childhood nickname 'Bunny' (because he would "jump around the house like a rabbit") and from a member of the Third World road crew calling him 'Rugs' because of his liking for sleeping on the floor.

    He joined Charlie Hackett and the Souvenirs, the resident band at the Kitty Club on Maxfield Avenue, in the mid-1960s before leading the early lineup of Inner Circle in 1969. A spell living in New York City followed from 1971 where he was a member of the dance band Hugh Hendricks and the Buccaneers, and later the Bluegrass Experience with Glen Adams, Eric Frater and Sparrow Martin.

    In 1976, he began the most famous portion of his career, taking over as lead singer of Third World, a position that continued on for decades even as he continued to record as a solo artist.  Almost immediate after he joined the group, Third World scored a top 10 hit with a remake of the O'Jays' "Now That We've Found Love." Six years later they teamed with Stevie Wonder for another smash, "Try Jah Love." They even worked with Philly producers Gamble and Huff on the more soulful album and single, "Hold On To Love." In all, Third World recorded nearly two dozen records and remained fan favorites for four decades.

    In 2012 Clarke released the single "Land We Love", with profits going to the charities the Jamaican Children's Heart Fund (the charity for which he was a spokesman) and Chain of Hope. The single was taken from the album Time, released in September 2012. Later that year he received a Caribbean American Heritage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Reggae. Health problems forced him to miss some of the shows on Third World's fortieth anniversary tour in 2013, and he confirmed that he had been diagnosed with cancer. 

    He will be greatly missed. 

     
     
     

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bunny Rugs

     
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