In 1977, American photographer Kate Simon tagged along on the bus during Bob Marley and the Wailers’ breakthrough European Exodus Tour, capturing the images that form the core of her new book, Rebel Music — Bob Marley and Roots Reggae.
“When Bob was on the road, he was playing [soccer] at every spare moment — after sound check, in the hotel rooms,” says Simon. “I think he loved [soccer] almost as much as he loved music.”
Simon’s photography is paired with anecdotes and reflections from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and Patti Smith, who penned the introduction. Simon also offers extensive commentary and stories behind the photos of Marley, whom she befriended in the Seventies.
“From the first time I heard Bob’s voice and saw him sing, [I knew] this was not an ordinary pop singer,” Simon said. “This was someone who happens once every many generations and yet as a person . . . he was really accessible and really helpful.”
Only 2,000 copies of the book will be available with 350 deluxe versions signed by Eric Clapton, whose cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” helped propel Marley’s career. The wood-box bound book is available through the publisher’s Web site (genesis-publications.com). Simon’s 400 mostly unpublished photographs capture Marley everywhere from the One Love Peace concert in Kingston, Jamaica, to his home with his family. Simon also photographed Marley’s 1981 funeral. “The entire mountainside was covered with people who were just coming out in love for Bob,” she says. “It was unforgettable.
“He was something else,” Simon continues. “A really lovely guy . . . He created such a treasure trove at such a young age.”