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Bob Marley had a colourful inner circle of friends. Here is a look at some of those who helped make his legend special.

Carlton ‘Carly’ Barrett (Wailers drummer): The backbone of Marley’s band, he patented the one drop sound that defined reggae in the 1970s. Was killed in April 1987 at age 36, in a conspiracy involving his wife.

Danny Sims (manager/publisher/producer): The American impresario reckons he recorded over 300 songs with Marley and the Wailers during the 1960s, including versions of Sun is Shining and This Train. Died in Los Angeles in 2012 at age 75.

Vincent ‘Tata’ Ford (friend): Credited as writer of the Marley ‘hymn’, No Woman, No Cry, Tata was part of the singer’s Trench Town inner circle. He lost both legs to diabetes but was a favourite with tourists at the Marley Museum in Kingston. Tata died in 2008; he was 68.

Glen Adams (musician): The keyboardist was a member of The Upsetters, house band at producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s studio. Adams, who played the eerie intro to The Wailers classic Mr Brown, died in 2010 at age 65.

Alva ‘Reggie’ Lewis (musician): A member of The Upsetters band which played on Wailers gems like Small Axe and Mr Brown, Lewis died in 2013 at age 63.

Soldiering on…

Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett (Wailers bassist): The rock of Marley’s band, 68-year-old Barrett completed a three-week tour of Brazil in January with The Wailers, with his son Aston Jnr on drums and Bob’s son Julian on vocals and guitar. Just like old times.

Alan ‘Skill’ Cole (former manager): One of Marley’s closest friends and confidante, Cole was a football star who first met Marley in the mid-1960s. Now 64, he has completed a Marley biography he plans to release this year.

The I Three (Bob’s harmony group): Comprising Marley’s wife Rita, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, the group first appeared on his 1974 Natty Dread album. Today, Rita oversees the multi-million-dollar Marley empire; Griffiths celebrated 50 years in the music business in 2014 and Mowatt is a Christian with a successful gospel career.

Alvin ‘Seeco’ Patterson (Mentor): A mainstay of the Trench Town scene back in the 1950s and 1960s, the Cuba-born Patterson was percussionist and elder in the Wailers band. One of Marley’s closest friends, he is now 84-years old.


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