It's been just over 30 years since the man who brought reggae to the world died of brain cancer, yet his popularity has shown no signs of diminishing. Robert Nesta Marley died May 11th
1981, less than 10 years after his major label debut "ËœCatch A Fire' on Island Records. This week on Radio M
, it's the annual Bob Marley Tribute Show.
Submit your favorite Marley tune, the reason behind your pick and a little story of your Marley experience. I will feature listener's picks on Friday as well as share some of the stories. You may even win one of 10 copies of Marley's CD Rastaman Vibration, my favorite album. Leave your picks in the comments.
When I was in 8th
grade in 1976 I had a very tall and mellow African American English teacher named Mr. Gilliam. He took a liking to me because of my interest in music -at that time I was into disco and soul and what my older cousins called "Ëœjams' like Billy Stewart and The Dells. One day he brought in Rastaman Vibration from Bob Marley & the Wailers and played some of it in class to use as an example of protest music. I was immediately taken by the soulfulness of the music, the "Ëœthick' sound and of course this extraordinary voice that sounded a bit like Sam Cooke with a quiver. After class I told him as much and he smiled in satisfaction. The tune that stuck me was Crazy Baldhead, with its heavy one- drop intro then Marley emoting with a plaintive wail- a sound I'd not heard before then. Then at the 1:10 mark , Marley breaks into 13 seconds of scatting - it's still gives me goose bumps. A powerful song about exploitation, abuse of power and inequality set to some of the most soulful sounds. Rastaman Vibration remains my favorite Marley album.
Three years after my discovery I found myself sitting outside a Sears store one morning with three other friends, waiting for the store to open and be escorted up to the third floor where the Ticktetron booths were located to buy seats to the Bob Marley show at the Uptown Theatre. This was before wristbands so it was first in line, first to get tickets. Between the three of us, we scored row six smack dab in the middle on the main floor!!! ‚ I can still remember seeing Marley's sweat fly off his head as he shook his dreads and skanking to the music. For a 16 year old it was a near religious experience. That final Chicago Marley appearance still ranks at the top of my all time greatest concert experiences.