Music

Head cornerstone

Marley's sons to release track for his 75th birthday

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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Come February 6, 2020, had reggae icon Bob Marley still been with us he would have celebrated his 75th birthday.

A raft of activities is being planned by the Marley family to observe this significant milestone of the family patriarch, and global superstar who died in 1981 at the age of 36.

One of the highly anticipated activities to mark the event is the release of a single featuring five of Bob Marley's son's -- Ziggy, Stephen, Ky-Mani, Julian and Damian.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer from his studios in California, Ziggy shared that the idea came about as his brothers tried to decide on how best they could honour their father at this milestone.

“Next year is such a significant year in the life of my father and so we have quite a lot of things happening during the year. One of the things is the release of a book... a photo book featuring rare and some never-before-seen pictures from the family album. In all of the planning Steve (Stephen) and I were in the studio and it just came to us, why not put out a song to pay tribute to our father.”

The brothers then decided they would do a cover of one of their father's songs, putting a modern twist on a classic, one which paid homage to the man the world has come to know and the first real musical superstar to come from the developing world.

Ziggy was guarded about releasing the name of the song by his father which will be re-recorded, noting that the wanted to create some anticipation ahead of the release.

“Stephen took up the reins as producer for the track and we decided that that it had to be one of the old songs, something that is not one of the more popular ones, but something that has a lot on meaning. We decided to give it a real modern twist,” said Ziggy.

But the Sunday Observer urged his to share the name of the song.

“Only because a you,” he declared before breaking out into riotous laughter.

“We gonna record Cornerstone. That's one of those early tracks... the stone that the builder refused shall be the head cornerstone... yeah, that one. That song is full of so much meaning, not just for my father, but for all of us here today as his family -- children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and just all of us. That song was inspired by a visit my father paid to his father's side of the family. He had fallen on some hard times and went to them for some money and they chased him away. So with a story like that behind the track for us it truly represents Bob in a very significant way. So for this significant birthday like his 75th we just wanted to pick a song that was powerful and speaks to the man. We are going to put our thing on it to make it new and fresh.” Ziggy added.

There is still quite a bit of work to be done on the 75th birthday edition of Cornerstone. Some of the brothers are yet to lay down their vocals, but Ziggy is confident that the recording will make the February 6 date.

Cornerstone was recorded and released by The Wailers in 1970.

Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945 at the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, St Ann to Cedella Booker and Norval Sinclair Marley. After moving to Kingston as a young boy he would later catch the ear of producer Clement “Sir Coxson” Dodd and become part of the aggregation The Wailers. The trio featuring Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer would then take reggae to international stages. As a solo act Marley took reggae music even further with anthems such as One Love, No Woman No Cry, and Redemption Song. He was diagnosed with cancer and died on May 11, 1981 at t Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital.

He was accorded a state funeral which was held at the National Arena in St Andrew, and interred at his birthplace in St Ann.


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