Today is 30 years since the great Bob Marley died. It was a great tragedy that such a genius should have been taken from us when he was at the height of his powers.
I never saw him in concert, which of course is something I really regret. I remember the first tour they did in the early 1970s (and their brilliant performance on BBC2), but there were other bands that I’d planned to see at the time. I did buy the records though, and they are some of my favourites. His songs touch me at an emotional level that few artists do - particularly songs such as ‘No woman no cy’, but even more son ‘Redemption song’.
There is this myth that Eric Clapton made reggae popular in the UK by covering “I shot the sheriff”, which is total nonsense. Actually it was the non-reggae artists that caught on to the growing popularity of reggae. I saw dozens of band in the early 1970s, and I would say that about half of them had a token reggae song. Bob Marley’s version of ‘I shot the sheriff’ is the definitive version – end of story
The music will live on , even though the maestro is no longer with us. It deserves to.