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
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.
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."
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
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.
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.