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Bob Marley: ‘Bronx Jam Session’ Tape (1968)


Today I share with you a tape that was auctioned at Christie’s on December 20, 2002 for $26,290.  This is as raw as it gets.  Marley, a guitar, and a tape recorder.  This tape was rare even among collectors until a few years ago.  Still, you will find it on very few sites today.

A 1960s-era audio cassette tape which features never-before-heard versions of eight songs that a young Bob Marley recorded in New York when he had aspirations to become an American-style rhythm and blues singer. Joined by Jimmy Norman (a songwriter and later a member of the R&B group, The Coasters) and others, this recording was made in 1968 using a simple home tape recorder. Norman’s handwritten notation of Bob Marley Live is penned in blue ballpoint ink on the cassette while his later addition of 7-1-83 appears in a different-colored ink. (Not considering the value of the Marley material, Norman casually added Coasters songs to this same cassette years later, but thankfully did not record over the original 1968 content at the beginning of the tape.) This original master has about twenty-four minutes of Marley material and is in fragile, but playable, condition. It also includes Norman’s later 1983 additions of music by The Coasters. The eight Marley songs on the tape are:

1) Wings of a Dove (I Need Your Love So Much) – Bob Marley
2) Stranger on the Shore – Bob Marley
3) One Love, True Love – Bob Marley
4) Splish for My Splash – Bob Marley
5) I’m Hurting Inside – Bob Marley (missing from source)
6) Falling In and Out of Love – Jimmy Norman and Al Pyfrom
7) Stay With Me – Jimmy Norman and Al Pyfrom
8) You Think I Have No Feelings – Jimmy Norman and Al Pyfrom

From Christie’s website:

“The Bob Marley ‘Bronx Jam Session’ as recorded on this audio tape represents a pivotal day in the life of one of the world’s most popular musical artists.

When Bob Marley visited songwriter Jimmy Norman at his New York City apartment in early 1968, his goal was to become an R&B performer. Not yet a star, the twenty-three year old Marley had just come under contract with pop music pioneer Johnny Nash. Norman, already a veteran Tin Pan Alley composer and R&B singer, was asked by Nash to work with the promising Jamaican artist on his trip to New York. The day began in apartment 6-H at 2119 Valentine Avenue in the Bronx with Marley and Norman sharing songs. Marley was a big fan of James Brown and wanted to learn as much from Norman as he could about R&B. In turn, Norman learned from Marley about Rock Steady, a style of music that would soon evolve into Reggae. During the day, the pair worked together on eight songs. Norman played an old upright piano. Marley played his guitar. There were various instruments, including part of a drum set, in the six-room apartment and they all were used from time to time throughout the day.

That night, after a long collaboration, Marley, his wife, Rita, Norman, his wife, Dorothy and his co-writer, Al Pyfrom recorded the songs on a cassette tape recorder. That original cassette is being offered for sale in this auction.

The jam session was such a success that Marley invited Norman to join him a week later in Jamaica to work with the Wailers on their first major record. Remarkably, all eight songs from the ‘Bronx Jam Session’ recording, several written by Norman and Pyfrom and several by Marley, would eventually be recorded for commercial release by Marley. When later issued in some form on Marley’s albums, the songs were performed as Raggae and not R&B as originally intended.

This ‘Bronx Jam Session’ recording is a remarkable documentation of Marley’s rapid musical evolution from traditional R&B to the newly minted ‘Reggae’ sound which ultimately made him an international star. Yet, this ‘Bronx Jam’ is virtually unknown in Marley lore. Outside of a select group of less than six people, the tape has never been heard and its existence has been previously unknown to collectors within the Marley community.”

Thanks to Allen from NZ!
FlawI&I, ONE love!

I was graciously given this tape by my good friend Tammy Beveridge.  Please visit her website at for downloads, interviews, song lyrics, and more.  Great site!


Peter, Bunny, and Bob




  1. Marcus says:

    Thank you so much for this post, but Track 5 seems to be missing

    1. marleyrkives says:

      yes. its missing from the source. i need to note that.

  2. Marcus says:

    Thank you so much for this post, but track 5 seems to be missing…

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