The cache of lost Bob Marley recordings was discovered lying over 40 years in a damp London hotel basement. These were in the form of 13 reel-to-reel, analogue master tapes, designed to be played no more than 15 times or so. The tapes were recovered, The Guardian reports
, in cardboard box files in the depths of run-down hotel in Kensal Rise, north-west London. The hotel provided modest lodgings to Bob Marley and the Wailers during mid-1970s.
was a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist, who successfully blended reggae, ska and rocksteady sounds and achieved international success. His hits included "Exodus", "Waiting in Vain", "Jamming", and "One Love." Marley died from cancer on May, 11 1981 in Miami aged just 36.
The tapes, discovered by businessman Joe Gatt, are the original live recordings of Marley’s concerts in London and Paris, recorded between 1974 and 1978:
Lyceum in London (1975),
Hammersmith Odeon (1976)
Rainbow London (1977)
Pavilion de Paris (1978)
The tapes feature
what are described as Marley’s greatest performances including his most famous tracks like “No Woman No Cry” and “I Shot the Sheriff.” Two of the tapes were blank, and one was damaged beyond repair; however ten of the reels proved salvageable.
Gatt told the Daily Telegraph
how the tapes were recovered. “I received a call from a friend telling me that he was doing a building refuse clearance that included some old discarded 2” tapes from the 1970s.”
He added: “Being a big music fan, who ironically, was actually in the audience for those historic Lyceum Marley dates, I couldn’t just standby and let these objects, damaged or not, simply be destroyed … so I asked him not to throw them away.”
The tapes were taken to a Martin Nichols, who works at the White House Studios, in Weston-super-Mare. Here Nichols succeeded in painstakingly, over twelve months, restoring the recordings to their former glory and capturing them onto a digital hard drive. The cost of the digital conversion was £25,000 ($35,000).
The recording are described as being of very high quality and excepts were played on BBC Radio 4, where the sound came across a crystal clear. It is hoped that the recordings can be issued commercially.