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Bob Marley Tribute by Marcia Griffiths - Marvin Sparks exclusive

Marcia Griffiths (far right) is a well-known and established reggae legend in her own right commonly referred to as the Queen of Reggae. She began her career as a solo singer, scored a British top 5 with "Young, Gifted and Black" alongside Bob Andy before becoming 1/3 of the I-Threes a.k.a. Bob Marley's backing vocalists, or his three little birds as he preferred to call them. The Wailers were renamed Bob Marley & The Wailers when Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left and replaced with the I-Threes, recorded what became the transitional album Natty Dread which featured Bob Marley's breakout international hit "No Woman, No Cry" and the rest as they say is history. Well, we are talking Bob Marley where it has become legend.

Marvin Sparks had the pleasure of speaking to Marcia Griffiths to celebrate the 30th anniversary Bob Marley's passing. Marcia recalls her first time meeting Bob Marley at the legendary Studio One, how Bob kept a watchful eye over the females such as her 11 year-old self so they didn't stray and experiencing nerves during their first collaboration. "I started out as a solo artist in 1964. I performed on stage with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires for the very first time on Easter Monday morning 1964 and the very same day I was taken down to Studio One. Of course, you know Studio One is Jamaica’s Motown. All of the great artists, that’s where we all graduated. When I went there I was 11, going to be 12 in November and when I went there that day I met Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. I knew Bunny Wailer from before because we went to Kindergarten school together. All the great entertainers were there; Ken Boothe, The Heptones... That’s how I started out, as a solo singer. I started recording the first day I went there. The first song I recorded was the 'Wall of Love'.

"All three brothers – Bob [Marley], Peter [Tosh] and Bunny [Wailer] – were three militant, revolutionary type of guys. They were serious and as a young girl going into a male dominated industry – I met sister Rita [Marley] there too as well. I was brought up very strict, so even to be going there like I’m working was something that was not allowed by my parents. I was very, very sceptical of certain environments because of how I was raised. Being in a male dominated business, I remember Bob Marley always had his eye on females. You had to make sure you walked in a straight line. If you slip, you know that his eyes are watching you. All three were like that, especially Bunny, but Bob and Bunny were very serious when it comes to – they didn’t want to see any girls being loose or careless, so you were forced to walk on a straight and narrow line, because their eyes were always watching you.

"I thought he was so militant and he was one of the persons that Mr. Dodd allowed me to do combinations with, because at the time, he was seeking so badly for a hit song from me because he was overwhelmed with my talent. He had me doing combinations with people like Tony Gregory, Bob Andy, Owen Boyce, including Bob Marley. Bob Marley wrote this song, a love song for both of us called “Oh My Darling” which we recorded. Even to record a song with him, I was very nervous - it was so good when he broke the ice and started joking around with me. Even in that recording you will hear me say in the beginning 'Cha man!' because he was teasing me and he kept it on the recording. That was a very nice experience when I recorded that song with Bob because I thought he was so talented. Even at that time, they had songs bubbling on the charts, so that was my little experience when I went there – meeting all those great entertainers. I was 11, I was going to be 12 in November."

Almost ten years later, in 1973, Marcia formed the I-Threes. Bob Marley selected them (Marcia along with Judy Mowatt and Bob's wife Rita Marley) to replace founding members of The Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. "I met Rita from Studio One days, but Judy never started singing as yet.

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