Bob Marley Recordings Restored After 40 Years In London Hotel’s Basement

Bob Marley died in Miami in 1981./AP

Lost recordings by Bob Marley found in a damp hotel basement in London after more than 40 years have been restored.

The tapes are the original, high-quality live recordings of the reggae legend’s concerts in London and Paris between 1974 and 1978. Tracks include “No Woman No Cry,” “Jamming” and “Exodus.” They were at first believed to be ruined beyond repair, largely because of water damage.

Marley, who died in 1981, would have been 72 on Monday.

The tapes were found in a run-down hotel in Kensal Rise, northwest London, where Bob Marley and the Wailers stayed during their European tours in the mid-1970s. They were discovered when Joe Gatt, a Marley fan and London businessman, took a phone call from a friend who had found them while doing a building refuse clearance.

From the 13 reel-to-reel analog master tapes, 10 were fully restored, two were blank and one was beyond repair. Work lasted one year and cost $31,200.

“They were [in an] appalling [condition] … I wasn’t too hopeful,” Martin Nichols, a sound engineer at the White House Studios in the west of England, told the BBC.

The recordings are from concerts at the Lyceum in London (1975), the Hammersmith Odeon (1976), the Rainbow (1977), also in London and the Pavilion de Paris (1978).
They were recorded on the only mobile 24-track studio vehicle available in the UK at the time. It was loaned to Bob Marley and the Wailers by the Rolling Stones.

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