Tuesday, December 18, 2018
The Music Diaries | The Rock Steady Era
Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert were mentioned in last week's article as being largely responsible for placing reggae music in the international spotlight. Consequently, a few weeks ago, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) included the genre in its list of cultural treasure that must be safeguarded. Two of these gentlemen Hibbert and Marley - also had seminal links with the rock steady genre from which reggae evolved, while Cliff had virtually transitioned from ska to reggae, without any rock steady song of note. Marley, for his part, enjoyed the most lucrative period of his pre-Island Records days with a series of extraordinarily popular rock steady hits at the end of 1966. This, on the heels of his return from Delaware in the United States, after frustrated by meagre remuneration from Studio One, he was driven to make the move to 'greener pastures' shortly after marrying Alpharita Anderson (Rita Marley) in February of that year. While working at odd jobs in Delawre, Marley had dreams of regrouping the Wailers there and suggested that his two friends join him. The suggestion, however, fell on deaf ears, and The Gong, as Bob is sometimes called, was back in Jamaica by year end with new ideas on the way forward for the group.