May 11, 1981: My Life-Changing 1st Day Working for Bob Marley’s Manager

By M. Peggy Quattro

Updated May 11, 2022

Greetings friends, fans, fam, and foes! Since I began this note some years ago, information continues to “come to light” about May 11, 1981, and the days, weeks, months, and years that followed. I had the pleasure to spend time with my former colleagues at D.T.A.M., to share what we saw and said, and to remember what transpired that fateful day in Kendall (Miami), FL. Even though 41 years have passed, time does not change what we know happened in our office, and the events we participated in, on May 11, 1981, a day that would change all of us in the room, and impact the Marley family and legacy. My longer tale, with input from the people who were there with me, is in the works. Watch this space… MPQ


May 11, 1981 was another beautiful Miami Monday morning. The excitement and anxiousness of starting my new job made for some tense nerves, not uncommon with the unknown. As a huge Reggae fan, I wanted this job badly. The excitement grew as I drove to the Datran Center in Kendall to begin a new chapter as Don Taylor’s assistant manager. I arrived shortly before my 10 a.m. start time. Don Taylor Artist Management (D.T.A.M.) managed my favorites—Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Gregory Isaacs—and this was all a bit much for me to believe. I’ve loved these three singers/writers/performers since my time living in Nürnberg, Germany, in the mid-1970s. I also felt sadness and dread as well because I knew these were the final days for Bob Marley on this earthly plane. Tense nerves, indeed.

My initial job interview was with Betsy Berg, the young lady I would be replacing. I passed the first round of interviews with her and she highly recommended me to Don Taylor. That week, leading up to my first day, had me meeting a few times with Taylor, on the phone. “Why do you want this job?” was the first question. “Because I love Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff… I love the message, the music, the call for the underdog to “get up, stand up.” Seriously. It was the truth. It was authentic. It was me… and it worked.

The interview started from his fancy hotel room in LA, where he traveled often on business (and pleasure.) The street-smart Taylor, the self-made millionaire who grew up in a waterfront East Kingston ghetto, played hardball over salary negotiations with Quattro, the experienced Italian businesswoman from Steel Town, Ohio. Following the moment where I finally said, “Ahhh…no thanks,” we (thankfully!) came to an agreement. He filled me in on Bob Marley’s current health situation, and let me know Jimmy Cliff was flying in that following week. He mentioned returning to Miami the next morning and asked that I come in for a meeting.

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GANJA REGGAE of the 70s, 80s, & 90s for 420

GANJA REGGAE of the 70s, 80s & 90s 
20 of the Best for 4/20

Okay, let’s be blunt. The celebration of 4/20 has a long and storied history. It apparently took 20+ years for the original “4:20 dudes” to be given credit for their undeniable contribution to the  “day of marijuana” title and tale.

A northern California group of friends—known as the Waldos—would gather at 4:20 p.m. to smoke a “doobie” next to a wall on their high school campus. They’d whisper 420 to each other as the Waldo’s secret code for marijuana. That catchy number was picked up years later by the Grateful Dead and High Times magazine and 4/20 was soon catapulted into the stratosphere, thus becoming the global code for “let’s smoke a doobie” day.

Jamaican artists were always on board with smoking a doobie, or, as they called it, a spliff. There have been hundreds ‘pon hundreds of “ganja” tunes recorded since the 60s. The Rastas, in particular, have been growing and smoking ganja before those Cali teens were out of diapers. 

Rastas have long preached of “herb” being “the healing of the nation.” And now, with medical marijuana stores, cafés, and products sprouting up around the world, it seems that, hell yeah, they are right. Big up, our number one cannabis crusader Peter “Legalize It” Tosh! Boom!

Maybe you “want to have Kaya now”? And you’re here to listen to some of the best-of-the-best Ganja Reggae songs. So, in honor of 4/20, we’re offering 20 of the best Ganja Reggae songs for your smoking pleasure. This hand-selected roster of your favorite singers, groups & DJs covers the 70s, 80s & 90s eras of Reggae music. So, “light up your spliff…light up your chalice” and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 


Click here for some fun 420 Did U Knows! 

Song Title Artist Year
Legalize It Peter Tosh 1975
Tired Fe Lick Weed a Bush Jacob Miller 1975
Free Up the Weed Lee “Scratch” Perry 1978
Kaya Bob Marley 1978
International Herb Culture 1979
Gi Mi Di Weed Jigsy King 1980
Marijuana Johnny Osbourne 1980
Sinsimilla Black Uhuru 1980
Pass the Kouchie Mighty Diamonds 1981
100 Lbs of Collie Cornel Campbell 1982
Pass the Dutchie Musical Youth 1982
Sensee Party Eek-a-Mouse 1982
Police in Helicopter John Holt 1983
Herbman Hustling Sugar Minott 1984
Pass the Kushumpeng Frankie Paul 1984
Under Mi Sensi Barrington Levy 1985
Under Mi Sleng Teng Wayne Smith 1985
The Herb Tony Rebel 1988
Sensimilla Sugar Minott 1990
Jamaican Collie Charlie Chaplin 1991
One Draw Rita Marley 1993

The Nominations for Best Reggae Album GRAMMY 2022

An Overview of the Artists and Albums Selected…

by M. Peggy Quattro

The Recording Academy’s 2022 GRAMMY Award nominations are selected from 22,000 entries and awarded by its approximate 12,000 voting membership. Now, and going forward, GRAMMY nominations will be determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of Recording Academy voting members. So, if you want to have a voice, contribute, and vote, *Become a Recording Academy member here*

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on-air with Deon Mattis, host of “Home Run” on Jamaica’s The Edge 105.3 FM radio program. The topic centered on the 2022 Best Reggae Album nominations. In my view, 2021 was the year of collaborations and indie labels. To be clear on why, here’s my overview of the six nominated albums, artists, and labels.

The Six Nominees are:

  • PAMOJAEtana – on U.S.-based Freemind Music
    • Etana is a gifted singer, songwriter, and 2018 Reggae Grammy nominee.
    • She has earned her fanbase through consistent quality recordings and performances since 2008.
    • On this album, Etana displays how progressive and in-touch she is with today’s market.
    • In addition to old school Reggae and new school Trap/Dancehall, there’s a notable Afrobeat influence, as heard in her collabs with several African and international artists.
    • Not to mention, her collabs with such Reggae greats as Damian Marley and Albarosie.
  • POSITIVE VIBRATION – Gramps Morgan – on U.S.- & Canada-based Halo Entertainment Group
    • I was there in ’94, when the unknown Morgan Heritage made their debut Sunsplash performance on a small stage. They blew everyone away and were invited to perform on the big stage on international night. The tight, pop-sounding group was immediately signed by MCA Records as they departed the stage.
    • Over the next 20 years, Morgan Heritage received two (2) Reggae Grammy Awards.
    • Gramps lives in Nashville these days, and the influence of the acclaimed-music city is unmistakable on this album. The songs are fun, romantic, country, and Reggae.
    • The collabs with Shaggy, India.Arie, his father Denroy, and son Jemere are awesome additions.
    • On this album, Gramps reminds me of a Reggae Jimmy Buffet.
  • LIVE N LIVIN’ – Sean Paul – on JA-based Dutty Rock Productions (his own label)
    • Inarguably, this Dancehall pioneer is the most well-known, recognizable, award-winning artist in this category.
    • A Reggae Grammy winner in 2004, Sean Paul has been nominated many, many times.
    • He is the performer, songwriter, and producer on this album…but he’s not alone on it. There are nearly 20 artists jammin’ with him… from Buju and Movado, to Damian and Mutabaruka.
    • You know it’s Sean Paul when you hear the first track…his distinct Dancehall style is unmistakable.
    • With the generous smattering of new and legendary DJs, this album is a sure-fire party hit!
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An Unforgettable Day

By M. Peggy Quattro, Contributor  ◊  Jamaica Observer, May 11, 2021

BOB Marley’s dead. Wow. It’s May 11, 1981. Around 11:45 a.m. on my first day of my dream job, the phone rings. Freshly hired as Don Taylor’s assistant, I merrily answered, “Good morning, Don Taylor Artiste Management.” Rita Marley uttered one word…“Don.” With slight trepidation, I handed the phone to my new boss standing next to me. By the look of dread on Don’s face, it was obvious that our world was about to change.

Don Taylor’s Miami-based company, D.T.A.M., represented Reggae’s ‘Big Three’ – Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Gregory Isaacs. Prior to my first day, I had dreams of one day meeting Bob Marley. Even though I knew he was very sick and en route to his home in Jamaica, I had hope. Going in as a huge Marley fan, I never dreamed that this day, this one event, would inexplicably link us for life.

“Why today, Bob?”, I asked myself again and again. There had to be some reason I was chosen to be in this office, on this morning. Within hours, I was witness to – nay, a participant in – Reggae music history. A day that began with excitement, anticipation, and promise ended with sadness, bewilderment, and deception.

The King had gone home to Zion… Long live the King.    

MPeggyQ – 40 Years inna Reggae – Since 1981

From “Reggae Report Runnings” 1984 – Meet:  M. Peggy Quattro

“When one door is closed, don’t you know many more is open.”

May 11, 1981, holds a special meaning for me in two ways. Firstly, it was the day that Bob “Nesta’ Marley left this physical plane to go on to higher heights, and secondly, it was the day that first marked my entrance into the Reggae music business, working with Don Taylor, Bob’s long-time friend, associate, and manager.

The immediate hustle and bustle and activity at the office surrounding such an international event convinced me that this was no “joke business.” Bob had a lot of work left to do, and out there would be certain people “picking up” where he physically left off. I am one of those persons.

Don Taylor and M Peggy Quattro, Montego Bay

Bob was the key to the spiritual door… and he opened it so now everyone can go through. I find I-dren everywhere I go that know, as Jah children, this is serious (yet happy) work we carry on in the name of our father – Jah! Like so many others, I could relate to the philosophies and wisdom Bob left for us in his songs. These same truths hold true today for those of US familiar with his life and times, as it will hold true for future generations who will know him through our records, tapes, films, and books.

Bob will never age past being vibrant, energetic, and 36 – beautifully endowed with dreadlocks from his soul, love from his heart, and truth from his lips.

In 1982, my first labor of love was the Caribbean Sunburst Festival, where, as Director-in-Chief, I made my own solemn tribute to Bob. This 4-day history-making event was soon followed by our presentations of Marcia Griffiths at the Gusman (still keeping it in the family) in ’82, and then various promotional endeavors that eventually led to the creation of Reggae Report.

So ‘wake up and live” y’all…the Reggae Report is here… as a voice, as a rhythm… we shall, ‘till the last syllable of recorded time, honor and hold in reverence our beloved leader, brother, and friend.

“You think it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning…”

Reggae Artists Remember Bob Marley from 1984

In 1984, we asked performers & personalities this same question:

What Was the One Thing That Impressed You the Most About Bob Marley?

Here’s what they said, as seen in V2#5 1984:

“…Bob’s very great…his music is different from all the rest of Reggae musicians…and well put together.” ~Ansell Collins

“…it’s just him…just the man, really… you know, the man.”  ~Beres Hammond

“…a hard-workin’ man, him work for what him have in life, really…and he’s a good singer and good writer, and I respect everything him done…him pave the way for every other artist in Jamaica.”  ~Gregory Isaacs

“…his talent… for me, it was his talent.” ~Jimmy Cliff

..Bob was a great man…he appreciated people and they related to him…he was a champion of the people…a selfless person…he cared on an international scale for the poor, black and suffering…this was the essence of Bob.”  ~Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976

“… a cool runnings man… just cool…that was one of the things I admired.”  ~Lloyd Parkes, bandleader

“…it’s his range…on one hand it was religion, on the other hand, he was a lover… you know, one has a heavy message, the other you could dance to…” ~Perry Henzell, writer/director The Harder They Come

“…he showed people how to move from poverty to riches… (as in) how to move from Babylon to the Promised Land…”   ~Tony King, Jamaica Tourist Board, Kingston

“…it’s how he was a leader…he had a platform and he stood strong…(and) he allowed me to be creative.”  ~Donald Kinsey, guitarist

“…his song “Smile Jamaica” for personal inspiration…(because) I smile a lot!”  ~Andrew Henry, Kingston Publishers

 

Inside the Vaults of Marley – 1990

(As published in Reggae Report V08#04 1990 – this article has not been updated since its original publication. Any updated information is welcome.) 

By Roger Steffens

Reggae historian & Marley archivist Roger Steffens

Bob Marley, Reggae’s prolific king, has been gone for nine years now and for the first time in that period, there exists a growing hope that the protracted legal battles for control of his life’s work are finally drawing to a close. At stake are millions of dollars in royalties, unreleased material, and properties. Nineteen lawyers are currently representing all the different claimants to the estate, including Bob’s children, the estates of the late Peter Tosh and drummer Carlton Barrett, the Wailers band, Bob’s mother Cedella Booker, Bunny Wailer, and various publishers and accountants.

As of the end of April, it appears as if an out-of-court scheme developed by Island Records president Chris Blackwell has met with qualified approval by most of the involved parties, and the way seems much clearer than ever for the eventual release of a treasure trove of unreleased and uncollected Marley and Wailers material going back to the dawn of his career in the early Sixties.

Chronologically, this is my breakdown of what remains to be heard, based on nearly twenty years of following every lead I could. And there is still a great deal of material, some of it stolen from Mrs. Booker’s home after Bob’s death that could yield even more surprises. Continue reading

Reggae History…'80s & '90s…Read the Music!