Friday, April 04, 2008

The Words and Music of Bob Marley

By David Moskowitz

Even with their original compositions selling well, the Wailing Wailers continued to cover American and English groups. Their song "Play Boy" was a reworking of the Contours' hit "Do You Love Me," and "Ska Jerk" was the remade Junior Walker tune "Shotgun." An interesting crossover was the use of Tom Jones's "What's New Pussycat," which was redone with Bob singing over a piano ska with a club-band-sounding horn section. In addition to covering songs by other bands, Bob constantly studied and learned from other people's music. He was an avid Beatles fan who listened to the albums to acquire the group's craftsmanship and song-writing skills. The Wailing Wailers even covered some Beatles material, such as "And I Love Her" and a remade version of "I Should Have Known Better" that was released under the new name "Independent Anniversary Ska." Bob had the occasion to meet the Beatles in the early 1970s, and he identified with their skill and sense of comraderie. He said of them, "they're bredrens. . . . Jah just love roots [and] those guys are roots."

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