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Commentary
by Gary Hardy

Bob Marley




 
Commentary

It was the 20th anniversary yesterday of the death of the legendary singer and composer Bob Marley, who died from cancer during his prime at the tender age of 36 years old.

Along with his group "The Wailers" Marley through his short life became one of the most popular and influential reggae musicians, who over a two-decade period has inspired many people and gave the world brilliant and evocative music which will always remain timeless and universal.

I will never forget being at the Bob Marley and The Wailers concert, which was held here on the island in the old Bullring in Ibiza town on a hot summer night in July 1978. The admission ticket was one price only of 1000 pesetas. The band was scheduled to begin their live performance at around 8 o'clock in the evening but were late in arriving at the venue and they didn't appear on stage until gone 10 o'clock that night.

During the two-hour wait for the concert to begin the whole of the newly released album at the time Live And Dangerous by Thin Lizzy was continuously played throughout. The stage was built high at one end of the Bullring and as the bright summer evening gradually turned to night hundreds of hippies and rastafarians with their children was dancing in the middle of the Bullring. The majority of the full house was wearing green luminous bangles and necklaces, which were being sold for 100 pesetas each as you entered the stadium.

I'm sure you can imagine the psychedelic scene where the warm summer air, which was saturated with the smell of marijuana on that colourful and wonderful night as The Wailers eventually appeared on stage. That year of 1978 Bob Marley And The Wailers had released Kaya, which was number four in the UK charts the week of its release. Kaya was an album of love songs and homage to the power of ganja, which Marley the "Rasta Prophet" often refereed to as his "wisdomweed."

There was no Café del, Mar during those days of 1978, which didn't open until the summer of 1980. However, Es Paradis Terrenal had been opened since the summer of 1974 and during its hey day was without doubt the number one open air discothèque in the whole universe.

The most popular music bar in San Antonio during 1978 was Utopia, which could then be found at the top of the same Calle as the now still famous Tapas Bar, Rincon de Pepe. Utopia was run by Miguel Cano and on the night of the Bob Marley And The Wailers concert his bar like most that night was closed, simply because, everybody wanted to go along and witness one of the most charismatic and challenging performers of our time live in the old Bullring.

The old Bullring in Ibiza town was situated opposite the Hotel Royal Plaza, which was not there at the time and only built in 1980 when the old Bullring was demolished and a single storey shopping centre was built and for whatever reason has never been used to this day.

Termination: Bob Marley was born in Santa Anna, to the north of the island of Jamaica on February 6th 1945 and he died in a Miami Hospital on 11th May 1981. On Thursday 23rd May 1981, the Honourable Robert Nesta Marley was given an official funeral by the people of Jamaica. Following the funeral service, Bob's body was taken to his birthplace where it now rests in a mausoleum and his legend as a visionary and a revolutionary artist will always live on forever. Amen.

Gary Hardy

garyhardy@liveibiza.com