“Marley & Me” one of the first books to expose the private life of Robert “Bob” Marley and the women he was associated will be re-released next year.
Penned by Donald Delroy Taylor, Marley’s best-known manager, the controversial tell-all will be gussied up with brand new chapters and on the shelves in time for the king of reggae’s 68th birthday on Feb. 6.
First published under the cover “So Much Things To Say” the title was changed to reflect Taylor’s unique relationship with the reggae legend.
Often compared to boxing promoter Don King or Elvis Presley’s manager Col. Tom Parker, the charismatic, sharp-dresser was a self-made manager.
Allegedly Taylor made his way into the big-time when singer Lloyd Price visited Jamaica.
According to the book, Taylor maneuvered his way to see the star offering to assist him with his stage outfit.
Taylor revealed that Price impressed with his meticulous care of the clothing suggested that Taylor set up a valet service for other visiting performers which included Fats Domino, Ben E. King and Jackie Wilson.
As the biography reads, Wilson was very impressed by Taylor’s work and before leaving the island bought him a plane ticket to Miami in 1960.
Taylor lived in the south for a time but after meeting Jerry Butler made his way to New York and quickly landed a gig with Little Anthony and the Imperials.
Taylor travelled with the hit-makers and eventually became their manager.
Marley allegedly returned to Jamaica soon after Eric Clapton’s version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” hit the charts. Simultaneously, Marley his Wailers left their manager Danny Sims. Taylor reportedly travelled to Kingston and without introduction offered his services to the Rastafarian. The pair shook hands and formed a union to go on the road to promote the “Natty Dread” album.
After a successful tour of Canada and the United States, Taylor renegotiated Marley’s deal with Island Records president Chris Blackwell. That 1975 deal gave Marley his biggest pay-day with a contract for $1 million.
Taylor is also credited with setting up a company in the British Virgin Island of Tortola in order to avoid UK and U.S. taxes. The business-savvy manager also extricated Marley from his publishing deal with Danny Sims.
Taylor managed Marley for five years.
He was among four persons shot at 56 Hope Road, Marley’s home in Kingston in 1976. Newspaper reports at the time stated that Taylor saved Marley’s life by standing in front of the reggae legend.
Taylor was critically injured and was immediately airlifted to Miami for surgery.
A bullet was removed from his spine.
Marley and his wife Rita were also shot and injured in the incident.
Throughout the years, Taylor worked with Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, Prince, Soul II Soul, Mickey Howard, and producers Kenneth “Baby Face” Edmonds and L.A. Reid.
In 1979, Taylor bought Jimmy Cliff’s publishing rights for $40,000. He is reputed to be the brain behind rebuilding Cliff’s career, which reportedly, had been on a downward spiral since the early seventies.
Marley and Taylor parted ways after a trip to Gabon, Africa and dispute about embezzlement implicated the manager.
In 1980, Marley wrote “Bad Card” as a thinly-veiled attack on Taylor for the album “Uprising.”
One year later Marley died of cancer in Miami.
Taylor reportedly took care of the funeral arrangements in Jamaica.
However, it was widely reported that Marley’s death left a deep impression on him and he began using cocaine.
Allegedly Taylor tried to sort out the singer’s estate but, in the absence of a will, the dispute between various parties –Rita Marley, Danny Sims, Cedella Booker – Marley’s mother – Wailers – numerous baby mothers and numerous individuals seemed interminable.
Taylor said Rita Marley was against her husband’s ‘outside’ children benefiting from his legacy, which was reportedly valued at $30 million.
A court decision in 1989 ended the public feuding when Chris Blackwell bought the publishing rights to Marley’s songs for $12 million.
In 1983, Taylor convinced EMI America to sign Marley’s off-springs to a recording contract. Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers headlined Marley’s eldest son David and featured Stephen, Cedella and Sharon Marley.
Taylor died in Miami, December 1999 following surgery for a heart condition.
According to Mike Henry, head of LMH Publishing, the second edition will be more extensive than the first with additional chapters focusing on developments surrounding the Marley estate in the last decade.
“When the book came out, we were threatened with a lot of lawsuits that never materialized,” Henry said. “Just read the number of Marley books that followed and you will see Don has been exonerated.”
Henry says “Marley & Me” is one of his best sellers.
The book has been released in French, Japanese and Spanish.