It was around this time that Bob was asked to play
in a peace concert in Jamaica, where the island was
now in a state of self-destruction, with violent crime
and murder taking place each day. After careful consideration
and meetings with different people who asked Bob to
play guaranteeing his safety, Bob finally agreed to
play a showcase performance.
The One Love Peace Concert was held at Kingston's National
Stadium on April 22nd 78, and was a high point in Bob's
career. For Bob it was a way to reassert himself in
the country he loved, after his exile for almost two
was almost midnight by the time Bob took the stage,
to the delight of his fellow Jamaicans. On the song
"Jamming", Bob was in a trance like state,
dancing all round the stage when he asked for "The
presence of Mr Michael Manley and Mr Edward Seaga, up
here on stage now, jus wanna show that we gonna be alright,
we gonna unite."
When the two were called to the stage, Edward Seaga
was first led to the stage and the crowed waited for
Manley to follow, finaly when the two were together
on stage Marley took the two, one by one and joined
the two together above his head as he stood in the middle.
The world tour that followed was known as the "Kaya
78" tour. It opened in Cleveland, Ohio on May 19.
For over a month they criss-crossed the eastern United
States and Canada, selling out everywhere they went,
including the vast Madison Square Garden in New York.
Late June early July saw European dates in France,
Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and
the UK, it was from these European dates that the live
album "Babylon By Bus" was made. Late in July
the tour took the band back to the west coast of the
states. On July 21st at the Burbank concert Peter Tosh
joined Bob onstage during the song "Get Up Stand
Up" the song that the two had co-written. When
the dates finally ended in the states, the band went
back to Jamaica to plan the Asain swing of the world
Bobs foot had healed well and he was back to the crucial
football games as usual and he was looking forward to
the tour through Australia, New Zealand and Japan. He
was also eager to record at his new Tuff Gong Studio
that had been completed in Hope Road in his absence,
supervised by Diane Jobson, Bobs Jamaican lawyer. The
Wailers Asian part of the tour was a great success,
with sellout shows at Japan, Australia and New Zealand,
with Bob being welcomed like royalty wherever he went.
After the tour was finally completed, Bob took a well-deserved
rest in his house he'd bought in Miami and then returned
to Jamaica to start work on his next Album called "Survival".
But before returning to Jamaica Bob took a long wanted
visit to Africa and in particular Ethiopia (Bob told
an interviewer once this is were he wanted to live)
where he stayed in Addis Ababa. Bob got the chance to
see the living quarters where Emperor Haile Sellassie
lived. It was during this stay that Bob wrote the song
returned to Jamaica early in '79 to begin work on the
"Survival" album, at his new studio at hope
road. The album was released in October. Unlike the
album "Kaya", Bob was back to his leadership
role with songs such as "So Much Trouble In The
World", "Africa Unite" and "Zimbabwe".
Bob also wrote a song about the shooting incident that
happened in 1976 entitled "Ambush In The Night".
The Wailers played three more shows that year, The
Reggae Sunsplash festival in Montego Bay, and a fund
raising benefit concert for African freedom fighters
at Harvard University in Boston, USA in July, and another
show in Kingston for local causes during September.
The "Survival" tour itself began early in
October, which led to a two month tour around the States
and Canada, starting with four nights at the Apollo
theatre in Harlem, New York. The final date was in December,
in the Bahamas, which was a benefit concert for the
United Nations International year of the Child.
On January 1st 1980, the Wailers left Jamaica via London
for Gabon in West Afica, were Bob had been asked to
play for the birthday party of President Omar Bongo.
It was when the time for the Wailers were due to be
paid for the show, that Don Taylor was found to be keeping
money for himself Don had negotiated with the Bongos
for 60,000 telling Bob it would be 40,000, thus netting
20,000 for himself on the side. Later that night a furious
Bob had gotten Don to confess to any other money scams
that Don had done over the years. After a 3-hour confrontation
with Bob, Taylor had finally confessed to withholding
money like this severel times before. Bob demanded all
his stolen money back and Taylor sobbed that it had
all gone to pay off his huge gambling depts. Bob was
furious and gave Taylor a beating he wouldn't forget.
Taylor was fired as Bob's manager on January 14 in
Gabon. The next day the Wailers flew back to London
to start on the next album "Uprising"
The recording sessions for the "Uprising"
album went well, with some 20 songs recorded (only 10
would be picked for the album), it included such songs
as: "Coming In From The Cold", "Could
You Be Loved", "Bad Card", "Zion
Train", "Forever Loving Jah", "Pimpers
Paradise", and the classic "Redemption Song".
By early February Bob took a break from recording and
went to his house in Miami for a rest. Bob received
another invitation to play at the Independence Ceremony
of the new nation of Zimbabwe on April 17. Bob was the
only foreign artist invited to play at the event, which
he considered an honor (so much so that he said he would
do it free, which would cost him a fee of $250,000).
The ceremony was held in the Rufaro Stadium in Salisbury,
watched by Prince Charles and The Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe (formally Rhodesia).
By 10pm after the ceremony was over, a voice announced
Bob Marley and the Wailers. The band kicked off the
show with "Zimbabwe" but had to stop ten minutes
into the show because the Rhodesian riot police set
off tear gas outside the stadium to control a large
band of ZANLA guerrillas trying to crash the gates to
hear the Wailers. The tear gas started to drift inside
the stadium, the audience started to panic and the I-Threes
were rushed off the stage. After severel minutes of
chaos and confusion the Wailers resumed playing "War".
By 10.30pm Bob had finally stopped playing after annoying
officials and thrilling the crowds of people by playing
twenty minutes longer than planned. The Wailers would
play their full show the following night.
The following night Bob played to a crowd of 40,000
in celebration of the new Independent state. For Bob
it was a high point in his life and he felt that he
had influenced history with his music.
Even with the success of the Zimbabwe celebrations
the rest of the Wailers had sensed something wrong with
Bob, they noticed he looked a bit sick on the plane
trip back from Africa.
"Uprising" album was released in May of the
same year, and a grueling tour of Europe began later
that month. For two months the Wailers criss-crossed
Europe; often playing six nights a week with little
or no sleep.
The audiences were the biggest ever seen with 100,000
at the Crystal Palance Garden Party in London on June
6, and a similar number at Dublin, Ireland on July 6
and a staggering 180,000 at Milan on June 27. Finally
when the European tour had completed the band returned
to London around mid-July, Bob was exhausted and in
the minds of many looked noticeable ill.
While the Wailers flew back to Jamaica to prepare for
the next leg of the Tuff Gong "Uprising" tour
around North America, Bob went to his home in Miami
were he meet with Danny Sims to discuss PolyGram's recording
interest. Sim's also had a warning for Bob, which had
come indirectly from C.I.A. sources. Another Jamaican
general election was near and the C.I.A. were determined
this time that Edward Seaga's JLP would win outright.
Bob was an unknown factor, which the agency did not
want on the scean in Jamaica. So Bob took Sims advice
and stayed in Miami remembering the Ambush that took
place at his home in Kingston during the last elections.
The North American tour was to start in Boston on
September 14th and the Wailers regrouped in Miami with
Bob during August, where the group noticed a considerable
change in Bobs apperance. Some of the band began to
wonder if the old cancer problem that was discovered
in '77 had returned, despite regular checkups since.
Even though Bob had his personal docter (Carl Frazier)
with him as a permanent part of the touring party, the
Doc had giving no reason for any alarm. But still Bob's
health had declined and he was often tired and occasionally
complained that there was something wrong with his voice.
Nevertheless the Wailer's played the opening show at
Boston and another in Rhode Island before arriving in
New York on September 18 for two shows at Madison Square
Garden, were Rita Marley (part of the I-threes) had
been given separate hotels to Bob. The reason given
by the road manager Alan Cole and by Dr Frazier was
to give Bob time to rest without interruptions, which
was utter nonsense as when Rita and fellow members went
to Bob's hotel off Central Park they found the place
abuzz with unknown friends and hangers-on. So why were
those who knew him best being kept at a distance? The
short answer I think is money.
The final days...
On the morning of the 21st following his two appearances
at Madison, Bob went for a jog round Central Park with
Skill Cole and Dr Frazier. The group had almost reached
the reservoir track when Bob shouted out in panic. Skill
turned round and Bob collapsed into his arms. Bob was
carried back to the hotel and after a couple of hours
the seizure seemed to pass and Bob could walk again.
By Monday the 22nd the Wailers were to fly to Pittsburgh
to continue the tour. Rita had called Bob to pick him
up for the ride to the airport, but Bob told her that
he wasn't making the flight, saying he had some more
interviews to do etc. So the band flew on to Pittsburgh,
where they waited for Bob to follow.
Bob didn't make the flight to Pittsburgh because Dr
Frazier had taken him to a neurologist who found that
the cancer found years earlier in his big toe had spread
to all the major organs of the body, the collapse in
Central park had been a stroke. The neurologist said
that Bob had only between 2 to 3 weeks left to live.
Bob was stunned and speechless.
A decision had to be made on the tour; Bob's doctors
demanded the rest of the dates to be canceled at once.
But Bob wanted to go on to Pittsburgh.
Bob and the rest of the group arrived in Pittsburgh
later that night, and Rita went to see him as soon as
he checked into his hotel. When Rita saw Bob he looked
dazed, he look so different that Rita blew up and tried
to stop the tour right there and then. She called Bobs
mum in Miami and told her that Bob was too sick to play
but was being pushed by his friends to play. Despite
all that was happening to him and around him, Bob was
determined to play his last concert the following night
at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh.
The final show went ahead with the audience being given
no clue that this would be Bob's last show in his lifetime.
Bob played a magical performance considering the state
of health he was in. Even including a total of 5 encores
after his amazing set including: "Coming In From
The Cold", "Could You Be Loved", "Is
This Love?", "Redemption Song" and "Work".
By Wednesday the tour had finally been stopped when
Rita had explained to Diane Jobson (Bobs lawyer) and
Chris Blackwell (head of island records) that Bob was
simply too sick to be on tour.
Now the tour had stopped, Bob flew back to Miami for
further tests. These tests only brought more bad news,
the cancer was spreading and slowly weakening Bob. After
being moved onto chemotherapy treatment to try and slow
the spread of cancer, Bob's dreadlocks began to fall
out and his weight began to plummet.
Bob agreed with Rita and his mother's plea's to be
baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The baptism
took place on November 4 without any one informing the
Twelve Tribes of Israel (which held Bob as one of their
own) of the decision. The service was conducted in New
York by the church's American head. Bob was baptized
as Berhane Selassie (Light of the Holy Trinity) in the
presence of his distraught wife and children. Bob had
become a Christian Rasta.
Knowing that Bob was not likely to last the year Dr
Frazier made a last effort to seek an alternative treatment.
He contacted a man from West Germany by the name of
Dr Josef Issels who had been treating officially hopeless
cancer patients using unconventional methods, which
had virtually outlawed him from the international medical
establishment for many years.
agreed to take Bob on as a patient, and he was flown
to Germany via London accompanied by Rita, his mother
Cedella, Dr Frazier, Alan Cole and Diane Jobson. The
group arrived at Issels clinic on November 9.
Whatever the views shared by the medical community
about Dr Issels treatment for his cancer patients, he
managed to keep Bob Marley alive more then six months
longer then any other docter would have imagined possible.
The treatment involved oxygenated blood transfusions,
hypothermia (ultraviolet heat) sessions, a tightly controlled
diet, the injection of more than one anti-cancer drug
banned in conventional medicine, and simple exercise
in the open air.
As the months past Bob gradually lost weight and got
weaker, when the day came for Issels to tell Bob and
family that he could do no more. Dr Issels suggest to
Diana Jobson that she and the family might want to take
Bob home while he still had the strength to endure a
plane flight. Bob was flown back to Miami were he was
admitted to Cedars of Lebanon hospital. The doctor who
admitted Bob said his stay wouldn't be for long, that
they could only ease any final agony.
One bright morning when my work is over, I will
fly away home...
Monday, May 11 only two days after reaching Miami, Bob
Marley finally died. His last words were to his mother
asking her not to cry, because he would be all right.
Bobs body was flown to Jamaica eight days later, in
preperation for his state funeral. On the 21st of May,
a memorial service was held at the main Ethiopian Orthodox
Church. Bob's coffin was then laid in a motorcade which
made its way to the National Arena for the State Funeral
of people surrounded the hills of Nine Miles to pay
After the moving and emotional funeral, representatives
from the Twelve Tribes of Israel carried the coffin
back to the motorcade which made its way on the winding
50 mile journey to the place of Bob's birth, Nine Miles,
The roads were lined with the people of Jamaica, wishing
farewell to their kinsman.
On it's arrival, a full five hours after it had set
off from Kingston, Bobs coffin was laid to rest in a
mausoleum which had been built next to the hut where
Bob was born. As the Archbishop intoned the last rites,
Cedella and Rita sang a hymn and Bobs mausoleam was
sealed and then cemented shut. At his request, Bob was
buried with a bible, his guitar, a soccer ball, his
ring, and a bong.
As the crowds began to melt away in the evening, the
Rastas held vigil through the night.
Bob Marley died in the physical sense, but he's still
going strong, like his father Jah Rastafari, Bob lives
on forever in our hearts and minds.
"YOU THINK ITS THE END, BUT
ITS JUST THE BEGINNING"
Bob Marley, I thank you for your guidance, inspiration
To read more of Bob Marleys words, CLICK