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.
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.
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…”
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
(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
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 →
As Bob Marley and the Wailers took their positions on stage for a 1980 Boston concert [at Hynes Auditorium,] they resembled a tribe of Biblical prophets carrying electric guitars. Red, gold, and green spotlights shined on the different members of the band, from the patriarchal percussionist Seeco Patterson to guitarist Al Anderson dressed in military fatigues.
The leader of the tribe walked to the center microphone in complete darkness and slowly began the song “Natural Mystic.” A spotlight finally landed on Bob Marley, whose long dreadlocks suggested a lion’s mane, and the mood for the show was fixed. Whether they knew it or not and whether they liked it or not, the Boston audience was being drawn into a spiritual experience.
I had the opportunity to interview Marley several hours after that September 1980 concert. It was to be one of his last. The Wailers [then] traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, for a show at Brown University and went from there to New York. *Following two extraordinary shows at Madison Square Gardens, where the Wailers finally performed before a predominantly African-American audience while outshining the Commodores, Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park. The extent of his illness became apparent. The Wailers made their final appearance in Pittsburgh a few days later. Continue reading →
Bob Marley’s Earthday Celebrations Set for Feb. 6, 2021
There are several birthday celebrations leading up to Marley’s 76th Birthday on February 6, including a global virtual birthday celebration hosted by Cedella Marley, Songs of Freedom: The Island Years and a Bob Marley Tribute Livestream
In lieu of the live annual birthday celebration that usually occurs at the Bob Marley Museum every year, Cedella Marley will be hosting a global virtual event for Bob Marley’s 76th birthday on February 6. Inspired by Bob Marley’s most militant album, Cedella, the Marley family, friends, and fans worldwide will celebrate Bob Marley’s 76th Earthstrong under the theme, SURVIVAL.
The virtual celebration will mimic the usual festivities beginning at 7 am ET, including messages from the family, a Miami Performance Mash-up featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation
Marleys, Survival Cypher performance featuring Skip Marley, Jo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya Stephens, More Family Time with Ziggy Marley, Memorial Tributes for Toots Hibbert and Betty Wright.
Also, performances from Papa Michigan, Richie Spice, Beenie Man, and more, plus “In the Marley Kitchen” featuring Chefs Brian Lumley and Kush McDonald, story reading, yoga, a children’s sing-a-long and much more. The virtual celebration will also feature video tribute messages from family, friends, fellow musicians, and artists from around the world.
To watch Marley’s 76th Birthday SURVIVAL festivities on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel, and for more upcoming content celebrating Bob’s legacy & contributions to the world, click HERE.
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Talks Bob Marley, Dub, Reggae, Production
Berklee Online’s Pat Healy talks with 84-year-old Lee “Scratch” Perry about his one-of-a-kind legacy and career. This bizarre and winding interview is available in all its strangeness and entirety at Hypebot.com
Pat Healy: “As a music producer, he arguably invented reggae in the late 1960s and early 70s, and he inarguably invented dub in the mid-1970s at his famed Black Ark Studio in Jamaica. He was Bob Marley’s mentor, producing some of his first recordings. It’s possible he also invented sampling, using the sound of a crying baby to begin his song “People Funny Boy” in 1968, a scathing song against one of his rival producers.” Scratch has collaborated with the Clash, Beastie Boys, George Clinton, and Keith Richards, among others.
The conversation that follows takes a lot of twists and turns and some of his answers were so different from the questions asked. So, to help, the writer* interrupts every now and then to provide context. For example….
PH: You grew up with what, four siblings?
LP: Yeah, I grew up with revolution. *PH: So yeah, he grew up with revolution. Okay, back to the interview … LP: I grew up with revolution in my brain, revolution in my leg, and revolution in my head.
Were there songs in your family before you went off to Kingston, music that you liked? Well, I liked “Charlie Brown,” like pop music. Yeah, I was loving pop music and [songs like, “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters] “Take out those papers and the trash, or you won’t get no spending cash.” I am a lover of pop music. So I reckon my number one spot is Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson? You’d been recording for years before you heard him, right? Well, I love stars that are uncommon. I’m really a pop music lover. I really love hip-hop music. I love hip-hop music even more than reggae music. Reggae music is okay. I love the American artists, them so much because the American artists have super very good voice [laughs]. So I was always listening to good singers. I love good singers; I love real singers. I watched Bob Marley in that duration before reggae becomes so common. So, most of the stars that I have put up were coming from the American singers. You know what I mean? So, I mean to say if you want to hear about something like “Me love Jamaica because they’re my people,” but they actually are too nice to me and they’re like raggamuffin, and me no like raggamuffin. Me like special artists. James Brown is my friend [laughs].
James Brown? Yeah, was my friend.
Yeah Rolling Stones are my friend. I don’t like to see what will happen to the Americans because most of the American singers, I learned from them and I love them. I don’t know what will happen to the good singers in America to find a way out, to find freedom, because if all of the American singers die, I will cry.
Yeah, I mean singers are our last shot. It will be too boring without the American singers.
*PH: Okay, here is the first interruption! So, at this point, he is talking about how he’d be sad if all of the American singers died because he is referring back to a theory that he revealed when our conversation first started, that the coronavirus is affecting America so badly now because the American government gave Bob Marley cancer. Are you following? He is actually not the only one to believe the second part of this. Most biographers of Bob Marley will acknowledge that there was definitely a suspicious amount of interest the FBI and CIA had in the reggae superstar, and that the agency considered him a threat. Maybe he would inspire a great uprising? Maybe his songs were too political. Most biographers will acknowledge that yes, there is at least some credible evidence that the American government had something to do with the 1978 assassination attempt against Bob Marley, but there is little credible evidence to support the theory that a device the American government had placed in Bob Marley’s shoe caused the cancer that killed him in 1981. However, there are some people who believe that. Lee “Scratch” Perry seems to be one of those people. And he also seems to believe that the virus is karmic retribution.
LP: American scientists and American Obeah men and American beasts gave Bob Marley cancer, in a year. They gave Bob Marley cancer and them could not find the answer. Why did they give Bob Marley cancer? If they give Bob Marley cancer, then Bob Marley give them the virus [laughs].