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45 YEARS AGO: BOB MARLEY BREAKS OUT WITH THE WAILERS’ ‘CATCH A FIRE’

Repeating Islands

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A report from Ultimate Classic Rock.

Catch a Fire launched Bob Marley‘s international career, while also cracking the foundation of his band. The Wailers were suddenly famous, despite having initially emerged from the Trench Town slum in Kingston, Jamaica, more than a decade earlier. More specifically, Marley was becoming a breakout star – and that didn’t sit well with the group founded as much on a sense of community as social activism.

Unfortunately, the pressures of new fame and industry meddling meant the original Wailers – featuring the cornerstone trio of Marley, multi-instrumentalist Peter Tosh (born Winston Hubert McIntosh) and percussionist Bunny Wailer (Neville O’Riley Livingston, one of Marley’s earliest childhood friends) – would last only one more album.

Marley was the charismatic and emotional center point of the group. But Tosh’s street-fighting attitude and Wailer’s blissed-out mysticism played similarly important roles in their rise to fame. Their…

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