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.