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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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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.    

The Night Bob Marley Was Shot – Dec. 3, 1976

The Night Bob Marley Was Shot

Excerpt from new oral history ‘So Much Things to Say’ tells the story of harrowing 1976 ambush at Tuff Gong
By Roger Steffens 
(What follows is an excerpt from a Rolling Stone, July 7, 2017, article, edited for size) 

Roger Steffens: Friday, December 3, dawned hot and humid. Mem­bers of the Wailers Band gathered at Tuff Gong late that afternoon to rehearse for the upcoming concert.

bob marley shot newspaperJudy Mowatt: I had a vision a few days before the shooting. Marcia left; she didn’t feel too good about that concert. Like she had a premo­nition that something could happen, or she heard something and she left the island. Rita and myself had been going to rehearsals. So one night I went to my bed and I dreamt that this rooster, it was a rooster with three chickens, and the rooster got shot, and the shot ricocheted and damaged two of the chickens. I even saw like one of the chicken’s tripe inside, the intestines come out. And I didn’t like it, and I told it to Rita and Rita knew about it. But we were looking out for something. Because usually, how the Africa woman understands, a lot of times we depend on our dreams. We know that when you dream, if it’s not so, it’s close to what it is. So we were expecting something to happen. And then again, I went to my bed. I never mentioned this – but I went to my bed again and I saw in the newspaper where Bob sang that song “Smile Jamaica” and that was the song that created a controversy because of certain lyrics that he had in it that was like a then political slogan: Regardless, you control your state of being, so smile, because the power’s ours. The victory’s ours.

bob marley shot at hospitalRoger Steffens: The forebodings came true in the midst of rehears­als around 8:30 in the evening. Two white Datsun compacts drove through the gates of Tuff Gong, from which the longtime guards had mysteriously disappeared. The exact number of gunmen who came leaping out, guns blazing, is a subject of controversy. There could have been as many as seven or eight, armed with machine guns and pistols, some reportedly containing homemade bullets. They went room to room, often firing wildly. Continue reading

White Gyal Inna Reggae Bizness – the Beginning

 May 11, 1981 – my first day in Reggae, working for Bob Marley’s manager Don Taylor, there only 2 hours when Bob flew home to Zion… read about it here… 1 Luv 1 Aim ~ M Peggy Quattro

It’s really 34 years since Bob Marley journeyed home to Zion. Same 34 years since I began my journey in Reggae…

Posted by Reggae Report on Monday, 11 May 2015

Bob Marley Jah Lives Poster 1982
Bob Marley Jah Lives! Vintage poster 1982! Limited supply!