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Bob Marley was born in Jamaica in a small village without electricity and running water. He spent his youth in Kingston’s ghetto, where he recorded his first tracks at the age of seventeen. He rose to fame and became the world’s most famous political entertainer, to many a symbol of freedom and hope.

This photo book takes the reader back to the 1970s and the heydays of Bob Marley & The Wailers. BABYLON BY BUS is a treasure for every Bob Marley and reggae enthusiast.

9 789082 265033

Hanekroot_omslag_EN.indd 1

BABYLON BY BUS BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Live and Up Close

In the spring of 1976, Marley and The Wailers took the reggae revolution to the European mainland. They came to Amsterdam, where the band was welcomed enthusiastically by fans and press alike. Sell-out concerts followed between 1977 and 1980 in The Hague, Rotterdam (twice) and Geleen.

MARTIJN HUISMAN & GIJSBERT HANEKROOT

I

n BABYLON BY BUS: Bob Marley & The Wailers Live and Up Close we relive the golden age of reggae in the 1970s, when Bob Marley and reggae music celebrated their greatest triumphs. BABYLON BY BUS describes Marley’s concerts in the Netherlands in detail and brings the stories to life with the unique photos taken by pop photographer Gijsbert Hanekroot. The blackand-white and full-colour photos capture Marley at his best.

BABYLON BY BUS BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS

Live and Up Close

MARTIJN HUISMAN & GIJSBERT HANEKROOT

10-07-18 14:42


CONTENTS Introduction 1975 | Live in London! Struggles of a pioneer: Dave van Dijk 1976 | The Rastaman in Amsterdam Adventures of a label manager: Evert Wilbrink 1977 | The Hague by bus Eye for photography: Gijsbert Hanekroot 1978 | The reggae party of the year in Rotterdam Man behind the scenes: Leon Ramakers 1978 | In the ice rink of Geleen Marley in his own words 1980 | Farewell in Rotterdam Fan dedication: Mike van der Linde Afterword The albums Sources Acknowledgements About the authors


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1975 LIVE IN LONDON! T

he history of reggae in the Netherlands starts around 1970. A small group of early adopters and enthusiasts play ­reggae on Dutch radio and try to introduce the music to a mainstream audience. Several songs passed off as reggae become hits. In 1969, Desmond Dekker scores a number one hit with ‘Israelites’, followed by successes from Dave & Ansil Collins, Greyhound, and The Pioneers in 1971. The international adventures of reggae really take off, however, i­n 1972, when Chris Blackwell signs The Wailers – consisting of Bob Marley, Bunny Livingston, Peter Tosh and the Barrett Brothers – to his Island Records label. It results in 1973 in the very first full-length reggae album, Catch A Fire, and is followed the same year by Burnin’. The two albums contain many songs already released in Jamaica but rerecorded for an ­international release. Blackwell adds electric guitars and keyboards to the recordings to make the music more rock ‘n’ roll and more palatable for Western audiences.

At the end of 1973, before their international breakthrough, Bob Marley & The Wailers have a modest hit in the Netherlands with ‘Get Up Stand Up’ from the Burnin’ album. The song is played by Radio Veronica, a radio station illegally broadcasting from a ship in the North Sea. With the Dutch government threatening to end its activities, the radio station is looking for songs that will mobilize its listeners. According to Evert Wilbrink, label manager at that time for Island Records at bmg-Ariola in the Benelux, the popularity of reggae in the Netherlands developed very slowly. One of the reasons was that the Jamaican film The Harder They Come was unknown to the Dutch public. The low budget film by director Perry Henzell, starring reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, had been released in 1973 and, after little initial success, it eventually became an international cult hit. The Harder They Come vividly portrays the vibrant music scene, daily life,


Reggae music is a music created by Rasta people, and it carry earth force, people rhythm‌ it is a rhythm of working people, movement, a music of the masses, seen? BOB MARLEY


babylon by bus | 16

Two legendary concerts on July 17 and 18, 1975 at the Lyceum Ballroom in London put ­Marley & The Wailers conclusively on a path to worldwide fame. Island Records owner Chris Blackwell will later describe the London concerts as sensational and a turning point in Marley’s career. A press release by Island ­Records a few years later notes that the two concerts: fully established Marley as the most evocative and potent performer of the Seventies. ‘It was reggae’s finest hour,’ commented the Melody Maker, whose front-page headline simple stated: ‘marley, king of reggae!’ Those concerts subsequently provided the band with a stunning live album and their first-ever British pop hit, ‘No Woman, No Cry’. Bob Marley, one of the great street ­poets of our time, had brought reggae into the mainstream of popular music. During those two memorable and tumul­ tuous nights in London, Marley and his band build up a great stage reputation in the ­presence of the international music press. Invited by Island Records, a handful of ­ Dutch journalists has travelled to London to attend the concerts and interview M ­ arley. ­Being long before the Internet era, it is the print media that can make reggae and Bob ­Marley big. A ­ ccording to Anton Witkamp, at the time the director of record company bmg-­Ariola Benelux, the breakthrough of ­Marley is mainly due to the journalists. ‘­In the mid-seventies, pop journalism was particularly powerful. Muziek­krant Oor could make or break groups’, ­Witkamp remembers in conversation with Jan van der Plas about the media and in particular the role­­ of leading Dutch music magazine Oor.


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STRUGGLES OF A PIONEER DAVE VAN DIJK ‘Only years later I realize I had met Bob Marley’

Following the positive stories about the London concerts, media attention for Bob Marley and reggae music rapidly increases in the Netherlands. In the Haagsche Post (now HP/De Tijd) two comprehensive and accurate articles appear written by Dave van Dijk. Van Dijk had previously met Bob Marley in the winter of 1968 in the Swedish capital Stockholm. The then little-known Jamaican had spent several months in Sweden with American singer Johnny Nash to write songs for a film soundtrack. Van Dijk: ‘He [Johnny Nash] is accompanied by a taciturn Jamaican with a green-yellow-red knit cap on. The few words I try to exchange with the man result in mutual incomprehension. Johnny Nash praises his musical qualities. I cannot stand Nash and forget the incident. Only years later I realize I had met Bob Marley.’ Van Dijk started to develop an interest in reggae in 1974. Reggae is a new and interesting sound to him, with lyrics that really matter. ‘Bob Marley’s voice sounds somewhat plaintive, sad rather than angry. The music is relaxed and has none of the aggressive ranting that features so much in European, supposedly revolutionary, music.’ In the years thereafter Van Dijk tries to get the Dutch public interested in the ­music from Jamaica. It is at Van Dijk’s instigation that Marley’s ­concert in Rotterdam in 1978 is fully recorded for Dutch radio. The writer and radio maker can justifiably be named as one of the pioneers of reggae in the Netherlands.


83 | babylon by bus

1978 THE REGGAE PARTY OF THE YEAR IN ROTTERDAM A

fter an absence of more than ten months, Marley appears in April 1978 at the One Love Peace concert in Kingston. It is the first time since the attempt on his life in ­December 1976 that the singer has returned to his home island. Like the Smile Jamaica concert, the One Love Peace concert is aimed at easing political tensions in Jamaica by bringing the two warring political factions and their followers together. That April night, more than thirty thousand Jamaicans witness a special moment when Marley unexpectedly calls the leaders of the two political factions on stage. While rendering an improvised version of ‘Jamming’, Marley unites the hands of the two leaders above his head. Symbolically reconciling the leaders, parties, and the Jamaican population, it is a unique ­moment in the history of Jamaica and in the life of Bob Marley. Later that year, Marley is

awarded the Third World Peace Medal by the United Nations or his efforts to bring peace to his home island. Despite these events, the international press has become increasingly critical of Marley, especially after the release of the new Kaya ­album in March 1978. Some commentators think that Marley has abandoned the social criticisms in his lyrics after the attempt on his life, in favor of more romantic and commercial reggae. The new album contains mostly soft songs about love and marijuana – and the love for marijuana – and is not nearly as militant or socially engaged as previous albums. The international and Dutch music press argue that Marley renounces his Rasta principles on his new record. The fans do not seem entirely happy with the album either.


Bob Marley was born in Jamaica in a small village without electricity and running water. He spent his youth in Kingston’s ghetto, where he recorded his first tracks at the age of seventeen. He rose to fame and became the world’s most famous political entertainer, to many a symbol of freedom and hope.

This photo book takes the reader back to the 1970s and the heydays of Bob Marley & The Wailers. BABYLON BY BUS is a treasure for every Bob Marley and reggae enthusiast.

9 789082 265033

Hanekroot_omslag_EN.indd 1

BABYLON BY BUS BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS Live and Up Close

In the spring of 1976, Marley and The Wailers took the reggae revolution to the European mainland. They came to Amsterdam, where the band was welcomed enthusiastically by fans and press alike. Sell-out concerts followed between 1977 and 1980 in The Hague, Rotterdam (twice) and Geleen.

MARTIJN HUISMAN & GIJSBERT HANEKROOT

I

n BABYLON BY BUS: Bob Marley & The Wailers Live and Up Close we relive the golden age of reggae in the 1970s, when Bob Marley and reggae music celebrated their greatest triumphs. BABYLON BY BUS describes Marley’s concerts in the Netherlands in detail and brings the stories to life with the unique photos taken by pop photographer Gijsbert Hanekroot. The blackand-white and full-colour photos capture Marley at his best.

BABYLON BY BUS BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS

Live and Up Close

MARTIJN HUISMAN & GIJSBERT HANEKROOT

10-07-18 14:42

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Preview of BABYLON BY BUS: BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS LIVE AND UP CLOSE. A unique photo book about the tours and triumphs of Bob Marley & The...

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Preview of BABYLON BY BUS: BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS LIVE AND UP CLOSE. A unique photo book about the tours and triumphs of Bob Marley & The...

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