Happy birthday, Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s final concert appearance has been released to celebrate the star’s 66th birthday.

The late reggae genius was born on February 6, 1945, and the forthcoming recording was captured 30 years ago and not long after the band released the album, Uprising.

Bob Marley & The Wailers — Live Forever captures the band in full flow at a concert in The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh on 23 September, 1980, and features a number of classics including Exodus, them Belly Full, Get Up Stand Up, No Woman No Cry, Jammin’ and Is This Love. Tragically it turned out to be the groundbreaking musician’s final gig.

Rita Marley told the press that her late husband’s powerful messages are still being felt.

“Bob’s music has always conveyed a message of hope, unity and love.

“It has brought countless people together as it did that night 30 years ago in Pittsburgh. To hear that music today and to be able to share it with a new generation shows that Bob is as relevant today as he was 30 years ago.”

Memories of Bob

Tony Platt, engineer, Burnin’ and Catch A Fire albums

“Island Record’s Basing Street Studios was a very creative work environment and we mostly just got on with recording great (and some not so great) music. The sessions with Bob were in one sense all in a day’s work but in another sense they represented a creative challenge. It was all about making great records really – and I think we did! My favourite song is Concrete Jungle.

“One important feature though, that perhaps is different from the current tendency, is that we made the record first and then the record company promoted it – the marketing plan fitted the artist and the record rather than the other way around – maybe this is why the artist’s message came across so strongly rather than the marketeer’s?

“My favourite Bob moment was either watching him neutralise a really stupid journalist asking stupid questions by sharing a big spliff with him – his mischievous side! – or his tolerance of my white middle class idiot self trying to correct his grammar when singing I Shot The Sheriff. Because he didn’t preach to people everyone can decide for themselves what his legacy is.”

Laurence Cane-Honeysett, producer, Trojan Records

“My favourite Bob moment was seeing him, alongside the Wailers, perform on the BBC TV music show, The Old Grey Whistle Test. Like most people in the UK, I’d previously seen numerous Reggae acts on shows such as ‘Top Of The Pops’, but seeing Bob, Peter and Bunny play their set on that show was a revelation – they were unbelievably cool, and for those like me, completely changed people’s perceptions of Jamaican music. The Bob Marley song I probably play most is the Lee Perry-produced version of Soul Rebel. The melody and lyric are deceptively simple, yet effectively convey what Bob and the Wailers were about at the time and of course Perry’s understated, yet haunting production perfectly compliments the message. Soulful, yet rebellious.

“In regard to Bob Marley’s legacy, I think it is manifold. Musically, he outer nationalised Reggae to an extent previously unimaginable, while also converting the tastes of those who had previously shunned the style. Of course within Jamaica, his work was instrumental in transforming the local music industry, not just in terms of increasing focus on social issues, but also in regard the aspirations of local performers. His success and confidence helped convince Jamaicans they could find lasting success globally, whereas the best they could’ve previously hoped for was a brief moment in the spotlight.”

Comments are closed.