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
Take a Reggae Journey with Me to Enjoy 40 Years of People, Events, Work, Travel, & Fun!
Since 1981 – from A to Z!
With so much to share, I’m going to spread my A to Z out over a few posts. Enjoy A to O and come back, right here, for more! Trust mi, there’s ’nuff ’nuff history & fun times for you to enjoy this whole year! One Love, M Peggy Quattro
*RR = Reggae Report Magazine
Aswad – The popular UK Lovers Rock trio was inspired by Marley in the ‘70s & later befriended BMW in ’76. Always sweet & gentlemanly, Tony Gad, Drummie Zeb & Brinsley Forde were RR favorites & were featured on three covers, in multiple issues, & headlined a packed Cameo Theater ’91 concert that I promoted & co-produced in Miami Beach. They were my May featured artist in RR’s popular 1995 Calendar.
The Aswad Poster I printed for Cameo show – V9#5 1991 Cover – Aswad checking RR & my ’95 Calendar – Aswad with Princess Di – Click to View!
Bob Marley – Our connection began in 1974 Nürnberg. This intro led to a job in his manager’s Miami office. My first day was May 11, 1981. RR featured annual Bob tribute issues with stories, pics, interviews, & more. I became friends with his mother, children, families; produced two BM Festival magazines; & sponsored several BM festivals. In 1995, I received a BM World Peace Award in Antigua. In 2008, I wrote & coordinated the Bob Marley Tribute that remains atop Mystic Mountain/Bobsled Jamaica in Ocho Rios today. Long live the king!
Me getting BM World Peace Award, Antigua ’95 – RR Article 1990 – BM Vinyl w Logo – Bob Marley Tribute Issues 1983-1998 – Bob Pull Out Poster V6#4 1988 – MPQ w the Marley Tribute I wrote for Mystic Mountain ’08 – Click to view!
Cedella Marley Booker – Getting to know, interview, travel & spend time with Bob’s mother, affectionately known as Ms B, was a definite highlight. Her fierce courage, wisdom, humor, talent, & home-cooking made for unforgettable & inspiring times. A fan favorite, Ms B was featured in RR many times. We shared successes & supported each other through complex times. It was an honor to speak in eulogy at Mother Booker’s fabulous life celebration in 2008. I miss her energy but feel her spirit.
Cindy B, Ms B & Me, Hard Rock, Miami – Me & Ms B, somewhere in the ’90s – Ms B gets key to Houston, ’90s pic by me – Philip Michael Thomas, Ms B, & me at our Time Will Tell movie premiere, Miami – Ms B, Woody Harrelson & Wesley Snipes, BM Fest, Miami, pic by me – Ms B & Ernie Smith perform at Small Axe Awards, Miami Beach ’86 – Ms B, Me, my dawta Arielle, & I Jabulani Tafari at Nine Mile – Click to view!
Don Taylor – I’m so grateful for Don sighting my tenacity & passion, & for hiring me as his assistant. He was managing Bob, Jimmy, & Gregory then & I was overjoyed. On my first day, May 11, 1981, Bob died. The Reggae world changed forever. I changed. Don T & I remained friends after I left. I always rated him a top-notch manager. We saw each other often, in Miami, JA, & at Midem in Cannes ’97 where JA’s showcase stole the show! When I interviewed him about his ’90s tell-all book, we revisited my ‘first day’ & the intense times that followed. I was sad to hear of his passing at only 56 & often think about what he’d be doing if he were with us today.
Don & Me, MoBay ’90s – Don & Bob – Don & Me, Cannes ’97 – Don, Bob, George Harrison ’76 – Don & Me, Kgn – Don, Me, Danny Sims, Kgn ’80s – Click to view!
E-Book – Reggae Trilogy: 200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots-Vol. 1 is my fun tribute to the music makers & frontline pioneers who shaped these remarkable decades. With 1000+ Headshots in the RR Archive, I found a way to utilize this treasure trove & share the fashion, culture, & lifestyle of Reggae’s Global era in an educational & entertaining e-book. There are 13 Chapters, my intro & a Foreword by Nadine Sutherland. Have a look – you may be in it! Or maybe your parents…or grandparents!
Reggae Trilogy: 200+ 80s & 90s Artist Headshots – Legends sample – Artist Index – Artis tNames – Singers Chapter Intro – 5 stars! Great reviews! Get yours now! – Click to View!
Festivals – Directing Caribbean Sunburst at Miami’s Marine Stadium was a mixed blessing – awesome 4 days but promoters ran off with all the $$, fi real. Later, RR co-sponsored many Miami Reggae Fests. JA’s Sumfest & Sunsplash Fests-my faves-were jam-packed with locals & global visitors coming together in One Love. I witnessed Cartagena’s Caribbean Music Fest in a bullring (while pregnant) & the Cancun Bob Marley Fest on the beach. Being part of Fests from LA & Miami to NYC & Hawaii, & around the Caribbean was a total blast!
Caribbean Sunburst Poster ’82 – Sumfest Daybreak ’90s – MPQ Reggae Rockin’ in JA – RR Sumfest Co-sponsor ’90s – MPQ, Mikey Zappow, Sudden Impack land in Cartagena ’85 – MPQ with Directors Ron Burke (Sunsplash) & Walter Elmore (Sumfest) – Cartagena 100K Fans at Wall Concert ’88 – Sumfest Daybreak Crowd ’90s -Review Cartagena Fest ’88 – Click to View!
Gregory Isaacs – Didn’t know the Cool Ruler before meeting him thru Taylor in ‘81. He was a real character with a raspy voice that turned silky when he sang. In ’82, I convinced Gregory to headline at Sunburst. He’s featured on RR covers & articles, including an interview I did at his home shortly after his wedding & wild SuperJam ’83 performance. Also, catch his notable performance in the movie, Rockers. We remained friends over the decades, in spite of his expected, charming, fruitless advances. Gregory sadly passed at age 59 from cancer.
Gregory at his peak in the 80s – Me with Gregory at his shop in Kingston – Grumpy Gregory outside a Kingston studio – Gregory’s 1st RR cover in ’84 – Gregory live at SoFla Vintage Show in 2009 – Gregory live at Sunsplash – Click to View!
Haile Selassie I – The influence & teachings of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I has permeated Reggae since the late ’60s. Rastafari believe Selassie is the son of God/Jah. When I met Rasta elder Mortimer Planno in JA in the early ’80s, he kindly answered my many questions. RR featured a So Jah Seh section each issue that presented quotes & highlights of H.I.M.’s many speeches. We also featured historical articles on H.I.M., the beginnings of Rastafari in JA, & insight into the more modern Twelve Tribes sect. Many Rastas moved to Shashamene & the land granted them by Selassie in Ethiopia.
Emperor Selassie represented as the Lion of God – Selassie met by Planno on his 1966 arrival in Jamaica – HIM & his famous hands’ position – His Majesty on Time magazine cover 1930 – A Nyhabinghi drumming session – Bob Marley with HIM backdrop – Click to View!
Inner Circle – Met these uptown-Kingston “bad boys” in ’82 when I worked with producer Joe Gibbs, where their Miami-based pressing plant was nearby. For ‘82’s Sunburst fest, they were the backing ‘Fatman Riddim Section’ & again for our Marcia Griffiths show that same year. The band was featured on several RR covers & reported on & written about countless times, including a tour to Belize I was invited on. Memorable was a surprising offer from the leader I had to decline. We have a lot of history-from Top Rankin’ to Circle House-and were friends for more than 30 years, ‘til we weren’t. C’est la vie.
The Inner Circle band was May in my ’96 Calendar – Caught this backstage pic at White River ’90s – Roger, Me, & Lance somewhere – Cover V7#7 1989 – Cover V16#2 1998 – The Lewis Brothers – Took this at the airport on our way to the Belize fest – Click to view!
Jimmy Cliff – My introduction to Reggae was Jimmy Cliff and The Harder They Come – album & movie – while living in 1974 Nürnberg. I was hooked; my music found me. Meeting & working with Jimmy in ’81 was a true blessing. On a trip to NYC to work his show, I was introduced to Jagger & Yoko backstage! Besides being friends, he was my mentor when RR began in ‘83. He offered his home as a base when I traveled to Kingston. Once on the front stoop, he advised me to put a price on RR: “You haffi get paid for your work.” Good advice.
Me & Jimmy backstage, Miami late ’80s – Jimmy “Bongo Man” Cliff – Jimmy’s 1st RR Cover ’84 – V14#10 1996 Cover – My Jimmy cover, shot in his front yard, V4#2 1986 – V6#1 1988 Cover – Click to View!
Ky-mani Marley – This talented Marley rocketed into my orbit in ‘94 when the then 18-year-old performed with the Marley Festival tour in TX & Cancun. He struck me as a surefire star, and we became pals as I followed his career. His uncanny similarity to his father’s voice garnered global attention. Albums, a Grammy nod, an acting career, & a published autobiography soon followed. He was featured on a 90s RR cover & in many articles & reviews. Born in Jamaica & raised in Miami, Ky-mani continues to write, record, perform, and act from his South Florida base.
Kymani Cover 1997 – MPQ & Kymani at Bob Marley Exhibit 2013 – Kymani with Specialist 90s – Serious Kymani – Damian & Kymani ’94 – Ky backstage at Miami Marley Fest – Ky and Tito Puente, Jr. at Midem Miami – Click to View!
Lucky Dube – This talented Marley rocketed into my orbit in ‘94 when the then 18-year-old performed with the Marley Festival tour in TX & Cancun. He struck me as a surefire star, and we became pals as I followed his career. His uncanny similarity to his father’s voice garnered global attention. Albums, a Grammy nod, an acting career, & a published autobiography soon followed. He was featured on a 90s RR cover & in many articles & reviews. Born in Jamaica & raised in Miami, Ky-mani continues to write, record, perform, and act from his South Florida base.
CITY OF MIRAMAR CELEBRATES ‘BLACK HISTORY MEETS REGGAE’ MONTH
Reggae Ambassadors Third Word and pioneering businesswoman Patricia Chin, co-founder of VP Records, are the recipients of this year’s Reggae Icon Awards, presented by City of Miramar Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis. The Marcus Garvey Award will be presented to Attorney/Community Activist, Alexandra Audate, a member of the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward. The presentation ceremony takes place on Sat., February 27, 6:00 p.m. at the Miramar Amphitheater, Miramar, FL.
Commissioner Davis stated, “Third World and Miss Patricia Chin have made groundbreaking contributions to Reggae music and I am happy to be honoring them with the prestigious Reggae Icon Awards this year. The City of Miramar has planned a series of events to celebrate Black History Month and Reggae Month under the theme “Black History Meets Reggae”. The Reggae Icon Award, initiated by Commissioner Davis in 2019, recognizes the valuable contribution of notable individuals to Reggae music while the Marcus Garvey Award recognizes a local champion in the fight for equality and justice among minorities.
Third World is one of the longest-existing Reggae bands, with nine Grammy nominations and a catalog of charted smash hits (including “Now That We Found Love,””96 Degrees in the Shade,” and “Try Jah Love” ) spanning four decades, sold-out tours, a vibrant and loyal fan base, and inspirational messages.
Patricia “Miss Pat” Chin, matriarch of VP Records, built a Reggae empire in Kingston alongside her late husband Vincent “Randy” Chin. Randy’s Record Mart and Studio 17 are where the careers of artists from Bob Marley & the Wailers to Augustus Pablo toToots & the Maytals began. After moving to New York in 1978, they opened VP Records, which has grown to become “the world’s largest Reggae label.”
The Reggae Icon Awards presentation ceremony is free to the public and all CDC COVID-19 guidelines will be observed.
THE TRAGIC DEMISE OF “MYSTIC MAN” PETER TOSH – V5#5 1987
By M. Peggy Quattro
The mystery surrounding the violent death of Reggae Superstar PETER TOSH is as complex and mysterious as the man himself. The many reports, stories, assumptions, and speculations leave a shroud of doubt and suspicion in staggering proportions.
What a dark day for Reggae and a sad and shameful day for mankind.
What is known to date is that on the evening of Friday, September 11, 1987, three gunmen on motorcycles entered Tosh’s Plymouth Avenue residence in Barbican, Kingston, Jamaica. Apparently known by Tosh, the three were in the house for a short while before the massacre began. What a dark day for Reggae and a sad and shameful day for mankind. One of the killers, Dennis Lobban, turned himself into the Kingston Police only days later, following a warrant issued for his arrest and the involvement of Interpol (the international police force.) Two others are still being detained, their names as yet unannounced.
A Robbery Gone Wrong
The first to be fired upon was Marlene Brown, long-time girlfriend and Tosh’s current manager and accountant. Winston “Doc” Brown was shot and killed on the spot, with Peter being shot several times and reportedly beat about the head. He died hours later at the University of the West Indies Hospital. Radio personality Jeff “Free I” Dixon also received shots to the head resulting in his death days later. Also wounded were Free I‘s wife Joy, Peter’s drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis, and another friend named Michael Robinson. Continue reading →
In Tribute – Lucky Philip Dube – Aug. 3 1964 – Oct. 18 2007
This article first appeared in Reggae Report, V11#6 1993
Lucky Dube… A Natural Man
By M. Peggy Quattro
Few individuals are naturally blessed with the predestined qualities of talent, wit, and a confident disposition. One such fortunate recipient is 29-year-old Lucky Dube, the remarkable South African singer/songwriter, who is presently dispensing his own musical blessings around the globe.
You are among the unlucky if you missed Lucky Dube and his megaband, Slaves, on their recent two-month tour of the USA. The incredible show, which highlights Lucky’s dynamic vocals, capable of soaring three octaves; Zulu dancing from Dube, the sonorous back-up singers and stinging brass section; and infectious authentic African-Reggae rhythms, was presented in 35 cities. The venues ranged from small nightclubs to major summer festivals. Included in the tour was a free show held on a beautiful July day at Brooklyn’s Metro Tech Commons, sponsored by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM.)
The moving response to the group’s performance was indicative of the overall reaction received whenever and wherever this talented troupe of performers set down. At the end of August, the tour moves on to Europe where they will be the opening act in a series of shows for international pop star Peter Gabriel. A two-week break in their hometown of Johannesburg is followed by a concert in Capetown, then off to finish the year in Australia, New Caledonia, Japan, and France.
Considered a superstar in South Africa, Dube, who neither smokes nor drinks, modestly credits his fans for this stardom. Continue reading →