Big up to my good friend Nico Monfraix for tracking this down! Stephen Marley rehearsing “Selassie Is The Chapel” at 56 Hope Road. Brutal!
It is early spring 1977 in London. Bob Marley recently arrived from Jamaica, fleeing for his life after an assassination attempt at his home in December 1976. He is also there to finalize Exodus, the album that will break The Wailers internationally. He is also planning to tour the UK during the summer of 1977.
There’s one problem though.
Several venues have banned Jamaican musicians from performing because of robberies and violence during the Rastaman Vibration tour in 1976.
Jamaica Gleaner, March 1, 1977
Bob Marley and the Wailers have played many historic shows. Many have been captured on audio and video. In fact, many of those performances have been shared on this blog.
However, there is one performance that, perhaps, may be Bob’s greatest performance. Unfortunately, there were no bootleggers at the show. No television cameras. Very little press. That’s because his greatest performance may have occurred at a corporate event!
Philadelphia, June 9, 1979. Philadelphia Sheraton Hotel. Black Music Association National Convention.
Formed in May and announced in September of 1978, the BMA is organized to “preserve, protect and promote Black music” (and those who create it) for the mutual benefit of all in the industry. This ambitious platform is the brainchild of Kenneth Gamble (producer/composer of Philly International) and Ed Wright, ex-prez of the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers. Together they manage to collect $600,000 in seed money and recruit some 120 top artists and executives from all the major recording labels to help organize the gathering.
This first major organization meeting draws such notables as Stevie Wonder, Berry Gordy (of Motown). Maurice White (of Earth, Wind & Fire), Bob Marley, and other heavyweights from the performing sector as well as label presidents like Bruce Lundvall (C.B.S.), Mike Maitland (MCA) and Irvin Steinberg (Phonogram), who are members of the BMA corporate government, in advisory or executive positions.
I thoroughly researched Marley’s performance at this convention and I have included all relevant press clippings here.
JAMAICA GLEANER, JUNE 9, 1979
SALINAS JOURNAL, JULY 15, 1979
VALLEY INDEPENDENT – PITTSBURGH-TRIBUNE REVIEW, MARCH 20, 1980
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, AUGUST 4, 1979