Bob Marley Awarded English Heritage Blue Plaque & Nubian Jak Plaque in One Week.
New plaques marks London base of Jamaican singer-songwriter.
Described as one of the greatest singer-songwriters of our time Jamaican born Bob Marley has been honoured with an English Heritage blue today, joining the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, George Frideric Handel and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The plaque marks number 42 Oakley Street, the Chelsea house where Marley lived in 1977. It was while living here that he and the Wailers finished recording their album Exodus, which featured some of his biggest hits, including ‘Jamming’, ‘Waiting in Vain’, ‘Three Little Birds’ and ‘One Love’. With this address as his Chelsea home, Marley said he regarded London “as a second base,” often playing football with his bandmates at the pitches in nearby Battersea Park.
Poet, writer and actor Benjamin Zephaniah, said: “It’s very difficult to say what Bob Marley would have said about this plaque, but he did once say, ‘Live for yourself, you will live in vain, live for others, and you will live again.’ So I’m quite sure he would say that this is for his people and his music.
“His music came from the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean and shook up the world, and his words are even more relevant today when there is so much division. But the truth is although he was at the forefront of our music, the longevity of this music and his words have shown that he was one of the best songwriters of all time. We should all be proud that he chose to live with us for a time.”
The Nubian Jak Community Trust will honour both Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer as well as Bob Marley at Basing Street in West London on October 4th at the former Island Studios site with a Blue Heritage Plaque. The turnout is expected to be significant with celebrations expected.
H.E. George Seth Ramocan, Jamaica High Commissioner to the UK, said: “I am pleased that three iconic Jamaican musicians, the Honourable Robert Nesta Marley, OM, the Honourable Peter Tosh, OM and the Honourable Neville O’Riley ‘Bunny Wailer’ Livingston, OM, founding members of the internationally renowned Wailers are being honoured with a Blue Heritage Plaque in London. Without a doubt, the global awareness and impact of reggae music is largely due to the musical creativity and the missionary message of liberation and upliftment promoted by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is therefore a fitting tribute to these pioneers who helped to promote Jamaica’s culture, heritage and language to the world”.
English Heritage Blue Plaques panel member David Olusoga said of the Oakley Street Chelsea Plaque “Bob Marley was the first superstar to emerge from the developing world. More than a brilliant musician, he became a cultural icon who blazed a trail for other black artists. It’s wonderful to – finally – be able honour him with a blue plaque here on Oakley Street today, after all the time and determination that went into proving that this was indeed Bob’s house. Thanks to new testimonies there is no longer any doubt. While the number of blue plaques to Black and Asian figures from history is still unacceptably low, Bob Marley’s plaque is a testament to how our scheme is changing, as English Heritage continues to work to overcome the obstacles that have led to this underrepresentation.”
We look forward to seeing more Blue Plaques in memory of those who have impacted all our lives and could so easily be forgotten or erased from the history books.
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