Lost Marley recordings discovered and restored

A photo of Bob Marley stands in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a fan gathering to honour the late musician who died in 1981.
A photo of Bob Marley stands in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at a fan gathering to honour the late musician who died in 1981.PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK • For 40 years, 13 reel- to-reel tapes containing live Bob Marley songs sat in a cardboard box in a London hotel basement.

They might have landed in the trash had they not been discovered in a building clean-out by a friend of London businessman Joe Gatt, who alerted his colleague, Mr Louis Hoover.

Mr Hoover recognised the value of the tapes immediately. "I was speechless," he told The Guardian.

The analogue tapes contain the original recordings of Marley's concerts between 1974 and 1978, at European venues such as the Lyceum Theatre in London and the Pavillon de Paris.

At first, the two men thought the tapes were unsalvageable because of water damage. "There was literally plasticised gunk oozing from every inch... saving the sound quality of the recordings looked like... a hopeless task," Mr Hoover said.

But a sound technician worked for a year to restore the sound quality of 10 of the 13 tapes to a condition that "made the hair on the back of our necks stand up", Mr Hoover said. The Guardian reported that the project cost about US$31,000 (S$43,850).

It has not been announced whether the recordings, which include No Woman No Cry and I Shot The Sheriff, would be released to the public.

A new vinyl set of Bob Marley & The Wailers' Live!, which includes recordings from the 1975 concert at the Lyceum Theatre, was released in December.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2017, with the headline 'Lost Marley recordings discovered and restored'. Print Edition | Subscribe