Getting your hands on some lost vintage records of Bob Marley, 40 years after, is akin to finding the heart pendant by Rose, in the movie Titanic. That's exactly how it happened, folks.
Back in 2015, a compilation DVD on the reggae legend, named 'Bob Marley: The Lost Tapes' was released. It featured some unreleased interviews and songs by the musician -- regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all times -- who would have turned 72 today.
Now, just ahead of his 72nd birth anniversary, some previously unreleased tapes have been restored. The tapes were recovered from a damp London hotel basement. The damaged tapes were restored using cutting-edge audio technology. The recovered tapes are from the legend's concerts in London and Paris between 1974 and 1978, according to the BBC.
Finding the tape
The run-down hotel at Kensar Rise in north-west London was the preferred lodging of Bob Marley and the Wailers (the famous Jamaican reggae band) during their European tours in mid-1970s.
Joe Gatt, a fan of Bob Marley, discovered the lost tapes after he received a call from his friend, who found them during the building clearance.
The 13 reel-to-reel, analogue master tapes were discovered in cardboard box files, reports Guardian.
"He was doing a 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," Gatt said.
Thanks to the modern audio technology, the records, which were found in a sorry state, have been restored in the best possible way.
"When I saw the labels and footnotes on the tapes, I could not believe my eyes, but then I saw how severely water damaged they were," mentioned jazz singer Louis Hoover, a friend of Gatt. "There was literally plasticised gunk oozing from every inch and, in truth, saving the sound quality of the recordings, looked like it was going to be a hopeless task."
The damaged recordings cost around £25,000 to be restored. It took the sound technician specialist, Martin Nichols of the White House studios in Weston-super-Mare, almost an year of painstaking work to put the magic back in the tapes.
"They really were in such an appalling condition they should have been binned, but I spent hours on hours, inch by inch, painstakingly cleaning all the gunge off until they were ready for a process called 'baking', to allow them to be played safely," Nichols said.
"The end result has really surprised me, because they are now in a digital format and are very high quality. It shows the original recordings were very professionally made. From the current find of 13 tapes, 10 were restored, two were blank and one was damaged beyond repair," he added.
Records from four concerts of Bob Marley – at the Lyceum in London (1975), the Hammersmith Odeon (1976), the Rainbow, also in London (1977), and the Pavilion de Paris (1978) – have been recovered.
Tidbit: The only mobile 24-track studio vehicle in the UK at the time was the location of their recording!
The songs include:
No Woman No Cry
I Shot the Sheriff.