Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bob Marley: Smile Jamaica Concert

In 1976, the Cultural Department of the Jamaican Government decided to put on a concert in a park in the middle of Kingston. The People’s National Party (PNP), led by Prime Minister Michael Manley, decided to have this concert and asked Marley to be their lead act. During this time the country was in great political turmoil because of disputes between the PNP, who was in control of the government at that time, and their opponent the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). While Marley faced great danger in accepting their invitation to headline the show, he couldn’t refuse to play because he was in debt to Tony Spaulding, the PNP Minister of Housing, for giving his family their home in Bull Bay. Consequently, the PNP decided to have an election soon after the concert. They knew that if the country believed that Marley was in support of their cause, then they were sure to win the election. JLP members were extremely angered because they also knew that the country would e swayed by Marley’s apparent support of the PNP. Soon after the concert posters were put up, Marley began to receive many death threats.
Marley could deal with death threats and so much more. On the evening of December 3, 1976 at 56 Hope Road, Marley and his band, the Wailers were rehearsing for their concert scheduled for two days later. Marley had gone to the kitchen during a rehearsal break, followed by his manager, Don Taylor. A gunman appeared in the door and began firing shots in Marley’s direction. Marley was only grazed by a bullet on his chest while his manager was shot four times in the groin. Outside the house, another gunman started shooting at Rite, Bob’s wife, who had just gotten into her Volkswagon to leave. She was also shot but not critically wounded because the glass of the car seemed to slow the bullets. After the incident Marley was quickly transported up the road to a safe encampment in the Blue Mountains above Kingston.
Two days after dealing with his near death incident, Marley went on stage at the Smile Jamaica Concert. In actuality, he was forced into by the PNP. Through everything, the Wailers put on a superb performance and Marley’s bodyguards were close at hand. Marley’s performance truly showed courage to all of the Jamaican people considering that his life was in grave danger during the entire performance.

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
Penguin Encyclopedia of Pop Music
(these will be in proper format for final versions)


Blogger mavoix said...

Very interesting! Could you give a bit more information-but not too much- on the main focus of the dispute between the two parties? I felt that that would help us to understand why the people were upset. The ending was also a bit unclear; how was he brave if he was forced to perform?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Keely said...

I'm afraid I don't know a whole lot about Bob Marley, so your post was really interesting to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger maroonbox25 said...

I agree with mavoix... but still; good job!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2005 7:58:00 PM  
Blogger Scott Spiegelberg said...

Don't capitolize "Government" in this context. The second sentence is clunky: it repeats "decided" and "concert", and only offers a few bits of new information. The third sentence: "their opponent" is unnecessary, as you already said they were in dispute. Some of the next sentences should be reordered. Show the danger to Marley before giving the reasons why he accepted.

Second paragraph, is this a different concert, or the same PNP-sponsored one? Third paragraph, was he forced by the debt mentioned before, or by some other means? If the former, this sentence is clunky as a reminder. If the latter, it needs to be explained further, as Mavoix pointed out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:29:00 AM  
Blogger violinbrunetka said...

cool! Bob Marley. I didn't know much about him, until reading this. However, I really think that this ending is a bit unclear. (other then that good job :) )

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 9:45:00 PM  
Blogger kati said...

I love Bob Marley; but I don't know much about his life. This shooting incident was mentioned in the film "I Am Legend," although the minor details are slightly distorted. Thanks for the information!

Monday, June 23, 2008 9:32:00 PM  
Blogger shYaM said...

there is not much info available about this incident on the web, and looks to me like this article does not tell the complete story. could someone pl add a link to more information on this. Like kati said, it was mentioned in I Am Legend and thats what made me look for up more.
i appreciate the effort taken to write this article though. thanks

Monday, April 26, 2010 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger marleyrkives said...

I invite you to read more on this story:


Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:09:00 PM  

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