Bob Marley Biography - Part 3

One Love...

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 years.

It 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 tour.

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 "Zimbabwe".



Bob 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.



The "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.

Issels 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...

A national hero, Marleys' coffin is ranked by a military guard of honourOn 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 at 11am.

Thousands of people surrounded the hills of Nine Miles to pay their respects.

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, St. Ann.

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.


Bob Marley, I thank you for your guidance, inspiration and strength.

To read more of Bob Marleys words, CLICK HERE

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The Natural Mystic web site in honour of the Poet and Prophet Robert Nesta Marley, voice and apostle of the spirit of the His Divine Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie, JAH - Rastafari. This site features free access to many rare concert recordings spanning Bob's muscial life. Bob Marleys' music lives on and loves all. There's a Natural Mystic blowing through the air, if you listen carefully you will hear. Site designed and maintained by Notty Dread of the MoonFireTribe. Best viewed in 1024 px. Optimised for Mozilla Firefox, Javascript and Flash plugins needed. © Disclaimer.