Tag Archives: chris blackwell

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.

Continue reading