BBC finds unseen photo of Bob Marley jamming on stage

BBC finds unseen photo of Bob Marley jamming on stage with local musicians at a Rastafari celebration held at an Irish club in Manchester

A report by Adam Sherwin for inews.

A photograph has emerged confirming that Bob Marley once jumped on stage to jam with a band at an Irish ballroom in Manchester.

The picture of the reggae legend jamming with local musicians was taken at the New Ardri Ballroom in Hulme, in the late 70s.

Marley visited the club to attend a meeting of the 12 Tribes of Israel Rastafari religious group, of which he was a prominent member.

Reggae legend invited to Hulme

By now a global star, the Jamaican artist was invited to Hulme by Larry Benji, keyboard player in the Ardri band, for a celebration.

The picture, not seen before, was unearthed by the producers of a new BBC documentary, When Bob Marley Came To Britain.

The other band members Marley joined on stage were Barry Johnson, of Manchester soul band Sweet Sensation, on bass guitar, Tony Bellamy on drums and Asha on guitar. The event is believed to have taken place in 1978.

UK ‘second home’ to Marley

The film details how Marley came to regard the UK as his second home in the 1970s, playing football in Battersea Park and living in a semi in the London suburb of Neasden whilst seeking to establish an audience for the Wailers.

Bob Marley pictured in London in 1977 (Photo: Evening Standard/Getty)
Bob Marley pictured in London in 1977

It features rare archive footage and brings together witnesses to a surprise concert Marley performed for nonplussed pupils at Peckham Manor School in south London in March 1972.

The film tells how Marley’s UK visits helped inspire a generation of black British youth. It includes footage from secret concerts at the Rastafarian HQ in north London and Marley’s attempts to spread the word of the religious movement to the north of England.

Marley became the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music before his death from cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

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