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Lloyd Knibb, influential drummer with the Skatalites, dies at 80

May 13, 2011 |  2:54 pm


Lloyd Knibb, an influential Jamaican drummer who played with the Skatalites and helped develop the ska beat, has died. He was 80.

Enid Knibb said her husband died of liver cancer Thursday. He had been receiving treatment in the U.S. but returned to Jamaica this week, she said.

Knibb was an original member of the Skatalites, a Jamaican ska and reggae band created in 1964. His frenetic style was one of the band's hallmarks and is best heard on songs including "Guns of Navarone" and "Freedom Sounds." The accompanying video is a live performance of "Guns of Navarone."

The Skatalites broke up in the 1960s, but reunited two decades later. Two of their albums, "Hip Bop Ska" and "Greetings from Skamania," were nominated for Grammy Awards in the 1990s.

Their music has influenced bands including the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt.

Knibb last performed with the Skatalites in April.

"Knibb was simply the most important and influential modern drummer this country produced," said Herbie Miller, director of the Jamaica Music Museum. "A master percussionist, he contributed to every style of popular and not so popular musical form.... As a drummer, he established a rhythmic syntax through bold innovative advances."

-- Associated Press