A cache of long-lost Bob Marley live recordings which lay in a damp basement for 40 years is to be auctioned after being restored.
Experts predict the ten – two inch ‘reel-to-reel’ 24 x track analogue tapes – could easily raise hundreds of thousands of pounds when collectors and fans worldwide start bidding as they go under the hammer.
These iconic recordings were miraculously saved from destruction at a London refuse dump when they were discovered during a London hotel clearance – in the basement.
The reels, with the digitally restored audio, are split into three lots, based on Marley’s historic 1970’s live performances at the venues where they were recorded;
The Lyceum and Rainbow venues in London (1975 – 1977) and The Pavillon Baltard in Paris (1978) and will be auctioned in Merseyside, England on 21 May 2019 by Omega Auctions.
The world’s first and only reggae superstar created a strong link to Liverpool’s musical history by playing at The Cavern Club as part of The Wailers ‘Burnin’ Tour – back in November 1973.
These priceless tapes were first dubbed ‘The Lost Masters’ by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell back in the 1970’s – when the tapes mysteriously disappeared off the company’s radar – and contain most of Marley’s greatest hits – No Woman No Cry Jammin’, Is This Love?, and Exodus and more…
Nicholas Bonham, former Chairman of Bonham’s Auction House, himself a major Marley fan, is equally excited about the find and said: ‘Surely this has to be one of the most important discoveries and restorations in the world of popular music. The impact of Bob Marley’s work touches almost everyone of all ages and cultures and is regarded as truly ‘international music’ as are The Beatles…but Marley possibly even more so’.
Omega Auctions are now firmly established worldwide and have recently sold such highly prized artefacts as Elvis Presley’s Bible with hand written notes (£59,000) the Mike Mitchell Beatles Archive (£253,000), David Bowie’s first ever vocal recording from 1967 (£39,000) The first demo version of David Bowie’s legendary ‘Starman’ (£49,000) and the single record that first helped launch the Beatles ‘Hullo Little Girl’ (£77,500).
Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “The Bob Marley original live recording multi-track reels will be among the most high-profile items Omega have dealt with to date.
These iconic recordings are from a point in time when Bob Marley was really at his peak and with him having such a huge fan base, we expect there will be worldwide interest.”
These lost and still unmixed master recordings were discovered – severely water damaged in cardboard box files – in a damp hotel basement in Little Venice, North West London where Bob Marley & The Wailers stayed during their early tours of Europe in the mid 1970’s and were originally thought to be ‘too damaged and beyond repair’ by flood water and covered in a hardened resin seepage.
But thanks to brilliant modern-day restoration technology the reels have now been successfully restored to their former audio glory and the restoration has since been heralded as ‘one of the greatest restoration projects in music history’.
The concerts were recorded on the only mobile studio vehicle in the UK at the time loaned to Marley & The Wailers by The Rolling Stones.
Omega Auctions say the minimum estimated value is £25,000 per lot but that likely to achieve more when the three lots go under the hammer on 21 May 2019.