Blue Plaque honour for Bob Marley's house

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Saturday, October 05, 2019

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The London home where Bob Marley lived in 1977 while recording his Exodus album, was adorned with an English Heritage Blue Plaque last Tuesday.

British poet Benjamin Zephaniah, unveiled the marker and paid tribute to the legendary singer/songwriter who died in May 1981 at age 36.
“It's very difficult to say what Bob Marley would have said about this plaque, but he did once say, 'Live for yourself, you will live in vain, live for others, and you will live again', so I'm quite sure he would say that this is for his people and his music,” said Zephaniah.

Blue Plaques are designated by the English Heritage organisation at sites associated with notable figures like authors Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson, and pop music legends John Lennon and Freddie Mercury.

British homes where singers Dennis Brown (lived) and Gregory Isaacs (died) have Blue Plaque status.

Marley fled Jamaica in December 1976 after he, his wife Rita and manager Don Taylor were shot by gunmen at his St Andrew home during rehearsals for the Smile Jamaica peace concert.

He eventually settled at 42 Oakley Street in Chelsea, where he and his band concentrated on writing and recording songs, some of which made it on Exodus. The album was released in 1977 by Island Records.

Containing the title tracks, Jamming, One Love and Waiting in Vain, Exodus was a hit in the United Kingdom where Marley had a strong following. It was named Album of The Century by Time Magazine in 1999.

Last week, it was announced that the site of Island Records' Basing Street Studio in London will be designated with a Blue Plaque. That ceremony was scheduled for yesterday.

The Wailers' (Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston) 1973 landmark Catch A Fire and Burnin' albums were mixed at that facility. Much of Exodus was also recorded there.

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