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Lost Bob Marley Tapes Found in a Hotel

02/13/2017 at 8:27 | Sarah Harley // Freelance Writer
Photo Credit: Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images

don’t really have a right to tell me that I can’t take their picture. They can ask nicely, “Hey, would you mind not taking my picture?” But they can’t enforce it, because there isn’t a law.

Hiding inside of a rundown hotel in London was a lost piece of Bob Marley‘s signing career.

Nearly 40 years ago, the legendary singer documented his shows in London and Paris with a live recording. The found 13 analog, reel-to-reel tapes were discovered with some slight water damage, but revealed something more beautiful.

The live recordings show four Bob Marley concerts from 1974 to 1978. Joe Gatt recovered the footage after a friend found them in a cardboard box within the Kensal Rise hotel. Marley stayed at this now rundown location multiple times throughout his singing career.



Severely water damaged when they were first found, sound technician Martin Nichols restored the recordings to a point where the sound is crystal clear. Nichols restoration process on the tapes took about a year and cost around 25,000 pounds or $31,200.

While working with the severely damaged tapes, Nichols was unsure what would happen. However, once he fully restored the sound, the lengthy process was worth the time. The sound technician describes that the first time he listened to the track; “It made the hair on the back of our necks stand up and genuine shiver ran up our spines with joy.”

When Gatt was first offered the tapes, he could not pass up the opportunity. He told the The Guardian that his friends “was doing building refuse clearance that included some discarded two-inch tapes from the 1970s. I couldn’t just stand by and let these objects, damaged or not, be destroyed so I asked him not to throw them away.”



Some of the footage can be seen on other live editions of previously released Marley footage. According to Rolling Stone, Marley’s gig at the London’s Lyceum in 1975 was released the same year. His 1977 gig at the London’s Rainbow room has also been released as a part of the deluxe edition of Exodus in 2001. Songs that can be heard in the footage include: No Woman No Cry, Jammin, Exodus, and I Shot the Sheriff.



Currently, it is unclear what Gatts plans to do with the discovered footage or if he will released them for purchase. Regardless, it is a part of music history that is way too cool to discard.


Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp