Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Paris Pavilion Paris, France June 26, 78

– Injury at play, tragedy in the making

Although it hosted some of the world’s top rock acts of the late ’70s, including David Bowie, Queen and the Who, the Paris Pavillion no longer seems to exist as a concert venue.

Bob Marley and the Wailers brought their Exodus tour to the Pavillion on May 10, 1977, but more importantly, it was while in Paris on this occasion that Bob and some of his bandmates played soccer with members of a top French team and he tore off his right toenail.

It seemed minor until the lesion refused to heal, and eventually doctors in London suspected cancer and urged him to have the toe amputated. Bob refused because of his Rastafarian belief that the body must be whole, that to have an amputation would be a sin, and he felt his faith ensured that he would live forever. “Rasta no abide amputation. I don’t allow a mon ta be dismantled.” He also saw doctors as samfai – confidence men who cheat the gullible by pretending to have the power of witchcraft.

He did have surgery to try to excise the cancer cells, and later in Miami orthopaedic surgeon William Bacon performed a skin graft on the toe.

I Jabulani Tafari, writing for, speculates that Marley may have been assassinated. He notes that the New York City and Houston police had long been probing the drugs and weapons trade between America and Jamaica, and that Marley and Peter Tosh espoused revolutionary thought.

In his book “Marley and Me”, former Wailers manager Don Taylor notes that an unknown doctor gave Bob an unknown injection in the injured toe, the toe that was later diagnosed as cancerous. But the origin of the melanoma, he says, citing the February 2002 cover story in High Times magazine, dated to 1976, when Carl Colby, son of ex-CIA director William Colby, visited Marley’s Hope Road home in Kingston and gave him a pair of boots. Bob slipped one on and something jabbed his toe. A piece of copper wire was protruding – had it been chemically treated with a carcinogenic toxin?

Jamaica that year, High Times noted, was ruled by pro-Castro Prime Minister Michael Manley and known to be the target of CIA destabilisation. Marley and Tosh were sending out musical warnings about the CIA operation, and Carl Colby, “posing as a member of a film crew”, arrived a week after Bob and Rita Marley and Don Taylor were shot by unknown assailants.

Then, writes Tafari, Dr Josef Issels, the immuno-therapist who treated Bob at the Ringberg Klinik in Germany in late 1980, was an ex-Nazi! “This may explain the painful, starvation-diet based treatment programme inflicted on Bob.”

01.Burnin and Lootin (5:34)
02.Them Belly Full (3:24)
03.Rebel Music (5:24)
04:Positive Vibration (4:59)
05.War > No More Trouble (5:35)
06.Runnin Away > Crazy Baldheads (6:25)
07.I Shot The Sheriff (4:24)
08.No Woman No Cry (7:03)
09.Is This Love? (5:33)
10.Jammin' (10:23)
11.Punky Reggae Party (5:48)
12.Get Up Stand Up (5:07)
13.Exodus (8:42)

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