Exodus was still in the UK chart when its follow-up Kaya was released on 23 March, 1978. This was a testament not only to Bob Marley’s phenomenal popularity at this point but also to the man’s impressive work ethic and his ability to shrug off a worsening health problem.
The toe injury which had forced Marley to cancel two shows at the end of the Exodus tour in May 1977 was diagnosed as Acral Melanoma, a malignant skin cancer. Doctors in both London and Miami advised him to have his big toe amputated to prevent the cancer spreading, but Marley was reluctant to undergo an operation that, contrary to the principle of Rastafarianism, entailed “cutting the flesh”. Eventually, in July 1977, he underwent a complicated medical procedure in Miami, had the cancerous tissue on the toe removed, and the affected area covered with a skin graft taken from his thigh. While the recommended amputation may have saved his life, this compromise measure would prove sadly ineffective in halting the progress of the disease in the long term.
On 22 April 1978, a month before the start of the Kaya world tour, Marley and the Wailers pulled off a gig of unique historical and political resonance when they headlined the One Love Peace Concert at the National Stadium in Kingston. The show marked the first time that Marley set foot in Jamaica since the Wailers’ performance at the Smile Jamaica concert, two days after he had narrowly escaped being shot dead in December 1976. The band’s return to its homeland was hardly any less stressful, since the concert had been organised, in large part, to defuse a bitter political battle between the People’s National Party led by Michael Manley and the Jamaican Labour Party led by Edward Seaga, which had spilled out of the legislative assembly and on to the streets.
Six months before Bob Marley and the Wailers released their ninth studio album Exodus, Marley almost lost his life.
On December 3, 1976, two assassins tore into the band’s rehearsal space in Kingston, Jamaica and opened fire with four automatic weapons. Everybody in the room threw themselves to the floor or hid in the bathroom.
Marley was almost shot in the chest, but Don Taylor pushed him to the floor, and the bullet lodged itself in his arm. It would remain there until his death, as doctors said removing it could cause nerve damage in his fingers.
The telephone was patented this week in 1876 by none other than Canadian innovator Alexander Graham Bell.
Thanks to this nifty little invention, music fans have been able to do so much more. Things like calling our loved ones about new records being released, order concert tickets remotely, and even take our music on-the-go with us… it’s been an incredible 141 years since!
Bell’s contribution to society has also affected the way musicians write songs: once distant lovers can now be reached on a whim (or they can ignore voicemails much easier…)
Even as phones have become smaller, more portable, and closer to our hip than ever, it still continues to be a focal point in many lyrics.
Phones have inspired many countless hits, and we’re counting down our Top 20 landline anthems!