A host of Bob Marley’s lost recordings was discovered after languishing in a Kensal Rise London-area hotel basement for more than four decades years. Thirteen master analog tapes were found in boxes stored in the decaying hotel, according to The Guardian. It is the same place Bob Marley and the Wailers resided when they toured Europe during the mid-70s.
What Condition Were They In?
Called “the lost masters” within the extensive Marley fanbase, the tapes were initially thought to be irreparably damaged by water. They were given to White House studios’ Martin Nichols, a sound technician specialist in Somerset, England, who said if anyone had attempted to play them in their feeble state, they would have been gone forever.
How Were They Recovered?
Nichols was able to return the recordings to a state such that the sound would “send shivers down one’s spine.”
“They really were in such an appalling condition they should have been binned,” Nichols said to The Guardian. “But I spent hours on hours, inch by inch, painstakingly cleaning all the gunge off until they were ready for a process called ‘baking’ to allow them to be played safely. The end result has really surprised me because they are now in a digital format and are very high quality. It shows the original recordings were very professionally made.”
How Much Did It Cost?
Of the 13 tapes that were discovered, Nichols revived 10 to the tune of around $26,743; he said two were blank and one was irreparable. Nichols sent the recordings along to his business partner Louis Hoover, a jazz singer who said, “It made the hair on the back of our necks stand up and genuine shivers ran up our spines with joy.”
What Was on the Tapes?
The tapes have the initial live recordings of Marley’s 1970s London and Paris concerts containing tracks like, “No Woman, No Cry” and “I Shot the Sheriff,” to name a couple. Shows at venus like the Hammersmith Odeon in 1976 and the Pavillon de Paris in 1978 were recorded live on the only portable 24-track studio vehicle in the UK at the time, which Bob Marley and the Wailers borrowed from the Rolling Stones.
Some recordings have already been released, including the 1975 show at London’s Lyceum Theatre. It was put out as an expanded three-LP and digital version of “Live!” in time for the holidays last year after its initial debut 41 years ago. Marley’s 1977 gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London also has been previously released as part of the 2001 deluxe re-issue of “Exodus.”