Roger Steffens’ book, So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley, is scheduled for publication by W. W. Norton & Company on July 11, 2017.
Musician and music historian Bruno Blum describes the book as a major ethnology study and “by far the most important and definitive book” written about Bob Marley. Kwame Dawes (author of City of Bones: A Testament and Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius) writes: “All true gospels are shaped by the accounts of eyewitnesses. Roger Steffens has collected these accounts and has given us a book of truths complicated by the bending of memory, motive and mystery. The effect is a fresh and renewed affirmation of Marley’s genius, humanity and mystique.”
Description: Roger Steffens is one of the world’s leading Bob Marley experts. He toured with the Wailers in the 1970s and was closely acquainted with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and the rest of the band members. Over several decades he has interviewed more than seventy-five friends, business managers, relatives and confidants―many speaking publicly for the first time. Forty years in the making, So Much Things to Say weaves this rich testimony into a definitive telling of the life of the reggae king―the full, inside account of how a boy from the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, became a cultural icon and inspiration to millions around the world.
The intimacy of the voices and the frankness of their revelations will astonish even longtime Marley fans. Readers see the intense bonds of teenage friendship among Peter, Bunny and Bob, the vibrant early sessions with the original Wailers (as witnessed by members Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith) and the tumultuous relationships with Rita Marley and Cindy Breakspeare.
With unprecedented candor, these interviews tell dramatic, little-known stories, from the writing of some of Marley’s most beloved songs to the Wailers’ violent confrontation involving producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bob’s intensive musical training with star singer Johnny Nash and the harrowing assassination attempt at 56 Hope Road in Kingston, which led to Marley’s defiant performance two nights later with a bullet lodged in his arm.
Readers witness Marley’s rise to international fame in London, his triumphant visit to Zimbabwe to sing for freedom fighters inspired by his anthems and the devastating moment of his collapse while jogging in New York’s Central Park. Steffens masterfully conducts the story of Marley’s last months, as Marley poignantly sings “Another One Bites the Dust” during the sound check before his final concert in Pittsburgh, followed by his tragic death at the age of thirty-six.
So Much Things to Say explores major controversies, examining who actually ordered the shooting attack on Hope Road, scrutinizing claims of CIA involvement and investigating why Marley’s fatal cancer wasn’t diagnosed sooner. Featuring Steffens’s own candid photographs of Marley and his circle, this magisterial work preserves an invaluable, transformative slice of music history: the life of the legendary performer who brought reggae to the international stage.