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RIP Bunny Rugs, February 6, 1948 – February 2, 2014: Third World Band lead singer dead at 65 William ‘Bunny Rugs” Clarke, the lead singer for internationally-acclaimed reggae band, Third World, is dead. The veteran singer was reportedly ailing from cancer and had recently been released from intensive care in a Florida hospital, with sources saying that he was on the mend.

Bunny Rugs, however, succumbed to his illness on Sunday, a mere four days shy of his 66th birthday.


Two of the best voices in reggae music, Bunny Rugs and Beres Hammond, strike a pose

Last year, it was disclosed that health problems had forced Rugs to miss some of the shows in Third World’s fortieth anniversary tour  and he confirmed that he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Band member, Richard Daley posted the following picture and caption on Facebook in the wee hours of Monday morning:

bunny_rugs_ripRichard Daley shared THIRD WORLD‘s photo.
“the Spirit Lives…….”
William “BUNNY RUGS” Clark
February 6, 1948 – February 2, 2014
Rest In Peace our dear brother.

Third World announced it thus: “It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of the great Bunny Ruggs of Third World. He has been suffering from an undisclosed illness, and succumbed today, February 2nd, just 4 days from his Earth Day. Rest in Peace, brother, you will live forever in our hearts…”

Another Third World member Carrot Jarrett posted this tribute  on FB: Carrot Jarrett via Joe Cooper


Bunny Rugs: A KEdge Audio Moment



William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke (born 6 February 1948- 2 February 2014), also known as Bunny Scott, was the lead singer of Jamaican reggae band Third World as well as recording as a solo artist. He began his career in the mid-1960s and has also been a member of Inner Circle and the duo Bunny & Ricky.

bunny_ruggs_soloBorn in Mandeville and raised on John’s Lane in Kingston, Clarke’s father was an Anglican preacher. 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.


Reggae Ambassadors, Third World Band

He returned to Jamaica in 1974 and recorded with Lee “Scratch” Perry at the Black Ark, initially as a backing singer, then with Leslie Kong’s nephew Ricky Grant as the duo Bunny & Ricky, releasing singles such as “Freedom Fighter” and “Bushweed Corntrash”, and also recording the solo album To Love Somebody (1975, credited as Bunny Scott). He was also a member of The Wild Bunch before returning to New York and taking over as lead singer of Third World from Milton “Prilly” Hamilton in 1976. With Third World he recorded the successful 96° in the Shade album, and he has been with the band ever since.[2] He returned to the Black Ark in 1977, contributing backing vocals (with Earl 16) to Yabby You’s “Chant Down Babylon Kingdom”.
As well as performing and recording with Third World, he continued to record as a solo artist, releasing the Jack Scorpio-produced Talking to You album in 1995, with guest contributions from Papa San, Cobra, and General Trees.
His planned 2008 album Thinking Bout You was due to be released on 6 February, to coincide with Bob Marley Day celebrations, the date also being Clarke’s birthday. He contributed to the Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band album in 2009, contributing a version of “Lovely Rita” recorded with U-Roy.

In 2012 he released the single “Land We Love”, with profits going to the charities the Jamaican Children’s Heart Fund (the charity for which he is a spokesman) and Chain of Hope. The single is taken from the album Time, released in September 2012. Later that year he received a Caribbean American Heritage Award for Outstanding Contribution to Reggae.

Clarke explained that his ‘Bunny Rugs’ nickname comes from his grandmother calling him ‘Bunny’ as a child 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.

Facebook Tributes

Meanwhile, Facebook tributes are pouring in for Bunny Rugs  from fans, friends and family who had all been keeping a worldwide prayer vigil for the singer’s recovery.

  • The man with the coolest voice………Seahawks win and then this……Bunny Rugs my brother…a gentleman and all……..what a fight……Mrs Williams hold the faith…….

    Puppa-Galiss SweetspeechMashworkz WOW! R.I.P

  • Victor DjShag Gomez Lawd so much he has given to the industry shed a tear for Bunny Rugs
  • Fiona Wright Oh no! RIP Bunny Rugs – Your Spirit Lives through the legacy of the music you gave us!
  • Howard Stretch Carr wow when did this happen
  • Dolores Blakeney Oh no!! RIP
  • Rosamarie Gill RIP was came
  • Rosamarie Gill RIP was called home to his father,to do bigger and better things ….,
  • Tony Roy Wow R.I.P My Bro!!!!
  • Dera Tompkins Move forward home to Zion in peace Brother Bunny. Jah guide and protect.
  • Leah Bryant So sad. May he rest in eternal peace and happiness.
  • John Morris RIP PEACE,
  • Arlene Case RIP Bunny Rugs….a beautiful voice has been stilled….but his legacy will live forever!
  • On February 1, Third World shared the following lyrics from one of their popular songs on their Facebook Page:
    “You wake up early every morning
    Worrying about your earthly possessions
    Don’t make it hold ya
    Don’t make it hold ya
    In these obsessions
    I see JAH GLORY in the morning sun
    I see JAH GLORY when the day is done” THIRD WORLD sends condolences to the family and extended family of this distinguished Jamaica reggae Ambassador, William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke. May his soul rest in peace.                             Yasmine Peru

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  1. Penny says:

    Although we knew Bunny Rugs was very sick, this still hit me like a ton of bricks. Rest in perfect peace, my brother and friend. The wonderful music you made lives on. Thank you and thank you.

  2. Anna Fisher says:

    RIP Brother Bunny Rugs, what a blessing to have recorded and toured with you. You and Bob Marley will celebrate your Earthday in Zion this week. Thank you, Chaty Chaty News, Jah love

  3. orville hall says:

    His legacy will live forever, truly one of the greats…RIP Bunny Rugs. jah speed.

  4. musikfanat22 says:

    A colleague and brother! I’ll never forget his warm personality and the smile he had on his face, not to mention his great voice!

  5. Celia Goeckermann says:

    Ever thankful for the musical and vibrational contributions of our Dear Brother Bunny Rugs! You will always live on in our hearts. Prayers going up for you, your family, friends and fans. May the Love of the Almighty and the faith that He keeps His promises be a source of peace and comfort this, and every day! Rest in peace Bunny. I ‘n I Love you.

  6. Stevewryter. says:

    May your soul rest in peace Bunny rugs ,fr long time Third World fan.your music will lives on forever. Stevewryter.