Only one BobTuesday, May 11, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
AUDIO engineer Errol Brown manned the consoles for several of Bob Marley and the Wailers' albums: Survival, Uprising, Confrontation , and the mega-seller, Legend.
He had a front row seat to the singer's conquests of Europe and United States as well as his last concert at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, on September 23, 1980. Brown vividly remembers the day the reggae king died. The grief was inconsolable.
“I was at Tuff Gong; Hope Road. The sun was shining and all of a sudden, the place get cloudy and some lightning gwaan. I don't know what kinda thing dat, and after that mi hear sey Bob Marley died,” Brown, 70, told the Jamaica Observer.
“It was terrible, terrible. You have people a cry fi di whole week. It wasn't a good feeling. All I can tell you is this: 'There will never be a replacement on earth for Bob Marley. Bob Marley don't think of himself; he thought of everyone,” he continued.
A former Treasure Isle studio man and nephew of pioneer music producer Duke Reid, Brown was introduced to Marley by Marcia Griffiths in 1978.
He said during the Pittsburgh concert he realised something was wrong.
“Mi hear Bob Marley [voice] crack in the Pittsburgh show an' dat was bad. At di end of di show, dem call a meeting an' tell everybody what is going down. So him guh check on his health,” Brown recalled.
According to the engineer, Marley was supposed to do a three-week tour with Stevie Wonder.
“Him tell mi it was his dream to tour with Stevie Wonder before he went in di hospital. I think he spent a day or two an' we were in di hotel, an' when him come out they had a meeting. Bob Marley looked fit when he came out... Dat was the last time I saw Bob,” he said.
Marley was given weeks to live by his American doctors and went to West Germany to seek alternative medical treatment.
He spent seven months in West Germany as a patient of Dr Josef Issels. When his health deteriorated even further, he decided to return to Jamaica.
His condition worsened en route to Jamaica and he was rushed to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (later University of Miami Hospital) where he died on May 11, 1981. He was 36 years old.
“I wish Bob was alive right now. There would be no stopping reggae music. Every show in Europe sold out. Every show in US sold out. There was no stopping for Bob Marley and The Wailers again,” said Brown.
“I turn 71 in September an' up to dis day I don't buck up a second person like Bob Marley – in every way, personality an' how him deal with people. He's different.”
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