Bob Marley & The Wailers made their British TV debut when they appeared on the Old Grey Whistle Test in May 1973.
When it comes to seismic music events on television, two of the biggest ones that affected me were Bowie singing Starman on TOTP in 1972 and Patti Smith performing Land on the OGWT in 1976.
Sandwiched between them was another – The Wailers becoming the first reggae band to perform on The Old Grey Whistle Test in May 1973.
It was the first time I (or most other people in England) had seen a reggae band and it’s every bit as spellbinding today as it was then, when I was 15.
They had formed in Jamaica a decade earlier but this is one of very few film clips of the band featuring the original trio of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh.
The latter two left the group the following year, disgruntled at the band being promoted as a backing group for Marley by Chris Blackwell, the Island boss who funded their breakthrough album Catch A Fire and guided Bob to stardom.
The band here consists of Marley on rhythm guitar and vocals, the ineffably cool Tosh on lead guitar and vocals, Bunny on percussion and vocals, plus the rhythm section of drummer Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and his brother Carlton on bass, and Earl Lindo on keyboards.
If you look and listen closely enough, you might be able to see through the illusion… the band are miming to a pre-recorded backing track and only the vocals are live.
They performed two songs that night, both from their 1973 album Catch A Fire. This was the other: