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Changing industries: The Wailers - Catch a fire

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Introduction

Changing industries: The Wailers - Catch a fire In 1964 Peter (McIn)Tosh, Bunny Livingstone (Bunny Wailer), Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry, Constantine 'Dream Vision' Walker and Bob Marley created the band The Wailers. Though Cherry and Junior left the band after a few recording sessions. When recording their songs they used Ska musicians of Coxsone Dodd's Studio One. Bob Marley was the organizer of the band who also wrote most of the material. In spring of 1972 the Wailers went to London to promote their single "Reggae on Broadway" after CBS decided not to persue working with them. It was in London where Bob Marley walked into the Studio of Island Records and asked to see the founder Chris Blackwell. The company had been the reason behind the rise of Jamaican music in Britain. Blackwell was aware of Bob Marley's reputation in Jamaica. The group was offered an exceptional deal straight away. The Wailers were handed �4000 to make an album. For the first time a reggae band had been allowed access to the top recording studios and were given the same opportunities as other leading artists of the time. Before this period reggae sold only on singles and cheap compilation albums. ...read more.

Middle

The rock market, in contrast, was based on album sales by particular artists or groups which although requiring greater initial investment and ultimately took much greater profits. The Wailers' changeover from a studio, singles-based vocal group to an album-based touring band signalled an attempt to repackage reggae in a form to suit the needs of the rock market. Rock albums were designed for consumption by an audience prepared to sit and listen for a considerable length of time. The order of songs on such albums were pre-arranged in the production process as mentioned by Davis in 1983, "The European and American audiences that Blackwell wanted the Wailers to penetrate were accustomed to getting their music from albums on which ten or more tunes clicked together in a more sustained atmosphere. Bob Marley was asked to make the first reggae album, which Blackwell would then transform into a record that could appeal to the rock fans who were his principal customers." Blackwell's decision to market reggae as album music and to establish the Wailers as more profitable artists heavily shaped the production and packaging of the Wailers' album Catch A Fire. The first change in the production of the album was the increased scale of financial investment made in recording the album. ...read more.

Conclusion

These ploys confirmed Island's intention to sell the Wailers' as "rebels" by stressing the uncompromising and open political aspects of their music. In 1973, as Bob Marley's career progressed as he continued to reflect the struggles of all oppressed people, including those from his homeland of Jamaica. "He could not be just a singer," noted Rita Marley. "I mean, even looking at him when he's singing, he's fighting a war." As unrest in Jamaica escalated by the mid-70s, Bob Marley brought the message of change to the masses in a language to which they could all relate. Bob Marley's music was to inspire peace and profess the merits of the Rastafarian religion, which, among other things, proposed the healing power of marijuana. Jamaican sayings and metaphors saturated Bob Marley's music. In fact, it was a conversation between Chris Blackwell's colleague Esther Anderson and Bob Marley that inspired one of his most well known songs. "Well if you shot the guy and he's been bothering you all the time, well the thing is 'everyday the bucket goes well, one day the bottom must drop out.' Well, it's a Jamaican thing we say all the time. It means, you know, everyday you are messing with me, one day you are gonna get it." These words later became lyrics to "I Shot the Sheriff." ...read more.

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