Bob Marley in London in 1980
Photo: Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Images
Bob Marley's London Home Honored With English Heritage Blue Plaque
In 1977, Bob Marley and The Wailers released their unfading classic LP, Exodus. Featuring some of Marley's most beloved hits, including "Natural Mystic," "Jamming," "The Little Birds" and, of course, "Exodus," the iconic reggae group recorded the GRAMMY Hall of Fame album while living in London.
Yesterday, Oct. 1, the London house they lived in during 1977 was honored by the English Heritage organization with a historic marker. Now, at 42 Oakley Street, the blue plaque reads: "Bob Marley, 1945–1981, Singer and Songwriter, lived here in 1977."
"The longevity of this music and his words have shown that he was one of the best songwriters of all time. We should all be proud that he chose to live with us for a time.” @BZephaniah on Bob Marley, honoured today with a blue plaque. pic.twitter.com/Q27bNk64z0
— English Heritage (@EnglishHeritage) October 1, 2019
There to celebrate the occasion was British poet/author/musician Benjamin Zephaniah, who, as a boy, wrote to Marley explaining that no one understood his poems and asked if he liked them. The reggae king responded to him, and the young Zephaniah stuck with his craft, eventually becoming a published, celebrated poet.
"The longevity of this music and his words have shown that he was one of the best songwriters of all time. We should all be proud that he chose to live with us for a time," Zephaniah said of Marley.
According to The Guardian, approximately 12 blue plaques every year are erected by the English Heritage organization to celebrate historic people, including Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Freddie Mercury, to name a few. Of the 900-plus plaques in London alone, only four percent of them represent the black and asian communities.
Historian David Olusoga, a trustee of English Heritage said, via The Guardian, "Bob Marley's plaque is testament to how our scheme is changing, as English Heritage continues to work to overcome the obstacles that have led to this underrepresentation."
Olusoga also noted the power of Marley's story, and what recognizing means. "What mattered to millions of people was not just that he was an undoubted musical genius, but that he was somebody who came from a life like theirs. He had been born into poverty. To millions of people in the developing world he was the first global figure from their background."