Bob Marley: Remembering when Bob Marley played at Glasgow's Apollo in 1980

The story of when Bob Marley made his only Scottish live appearances in Glasgow in July 1980
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Crowds have been flocking along to cinemas to see the new 'Bob Marley: One Love' film which was released on Valentine's Day in the UK.

The biographical film documents the life of the reggae singer from his rise to fame during the mid-1970s until his death at the young age of 36 in 1981.

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A year earlier, Marley made his only live appearances in Scotland when he played two nights at Glasgow's legendary Apollo Theatre on Renfield Street as part of his Tuff Gong Uprising tour of Europe.

Bob Marley in July 1980 on the Uprising tour of Europe, which included a night at the Glasgow Apollo. PIC: Monosnaps/Flickr/Creative Commons.Bob Marley in July 1980 on the Uprising tour of Europe, which included a night at the Glasgow Apollo. PIC: Monosnaps/Flickr/Creative Commons.
Bob Marley in July 1980 on the Uprising tour of Europe, which included a night at the Glasgow Apollo. PIC: Monosnaps/Flickr/Creative Commons.

Peter Ogg was one of the lucky people who was at one of the Glasgow gigs as a 21 year old and fondly recalled the gig saying: "My sister Elizabeth had lived in Jamaica for a while, and got me into Bob Marley. It wasn't hard as he was amazing.

"I remember his backing group was the I-Threes with his wife Rita being one of the singers. They came on at the start and chanted something like Marley Woe oh oh oh repeatedly with the audience joining in louder and louder building the atmosphere until he came on.

"The first half was a mix of old & new tunes. There was an interval & suddenly Bob reappeared on his own with his guitar & sang Redemption Song with the band joining in behind him." It has been said elsewhere that Marley cried on one of the nights when he sung this with his guitar having 'Glasgow' written on to it.

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One of the highlights of the night was the seven-song encore which finished with "Get Up Stand up" with Peter saying: "It was a generously long show with an encore that lasted nearly as long as the concert itself. At least six or seven classics with the audience encouraged to sing along.

"It was the best concert I have ever been too. That deep booming bass really loud, yet not deafening like a Status Quo concert I was at that left my ears ringing for days."

Although Marley may have only visited Glasgow on one occasion, he did have an affinity to Glasgow which was revealed in former Celtic striker Dixie Deans' autobiography after he met Marley in Australia whilst a player at Adelaide City in the late seventies.

The pair got talking and eventually Marley recognised the former Celtic stars name saying: “Oh, you know I’m a big Celtic fan. I would love to go to Scotland to see Celtic Park and maybe even kick a few balls there. I know all about Jock Stein.

Dixie Deans with Bob Marley when they met in AustraliaDixie Deans with Bob Marley when they met in Australia
Dixie Deans with Bob Marley when they met in Australia
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“I love reading about British football teams and Celtic has always been my team. And now it is my son Rohan’s team. He’s only six but he loves Celtic. I can’t tell you how much I envy you having played at Celtic Park.” This was not the limit to the reggae stars knowledge about the Hoops as he was also impressively able to recite Celtic's 1967 European Cup winning side, the Lisbon Lions.

Although many who were lucky enough to be at The Apollo would of hoped that they would be able to see Marley again, just over 300 days later since those memorable nights in Glasgow, he would sadly pass away at the Cedars of Lebanon hospital in Miami.

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