This December will mark 40 years since reggae legend, Bob Marley headlined the iconic Smile Jamaica concert aimed at easing the fractiousness between the Jamaica Labour Party and People’s National Party.
A concert celebrating that anniversary is reportedly being announced on December 3 – two days before the exact date the original show was held in 1976 – by Bob’s son and reggae superstar, Stephen Marley at the Marley Museum along Hope Road in St. Andrew.
Though formal details are being withheld until that day, it is expected that the concert will take place in February, Bob Marley’s birth month and what is celebrated as Reggae Month.
The Smile Jamaica concert is remembered as much for what happened beforehand as what took place at the event. Marley along with his wife, Rita Marley, manager, Don Taylor and colleague Lewis Griffiths were shot during a home invasion at his Hope Road residence, now Marley Museum. All survived the attack.
It was widely speculated that the attack was politically motivated as Marley allegedly backed the PNP while JLP members claimed Smile Jamaica was a ploy used by the PNP to help secure the general election, which took place just over two weeks later.
Despite still healing from relatively fresh wounds, Marley performed the Smile Jamaica show and memorably held hands with then prime minister Michael Manley and Edward Seaga in a show of unity during his set.