Marley's ambush ReMastered

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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The assassination attempt on Bob Marley's life in December 1976 is part of an eight-part series called ReMastered, set to air on Netflix October 12.

TitledWho Shot The Sheriff, it is the series' much-anticipated first episode,Billboard Magazinereports. It contains “commentary” from Jimmy Cliff and Edward Seaga, the former Jamaica prime minister who was leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) at the time.

ReMasteredlooks at some of pop music's greatest whodunits, including the death of legendary American bluesman Robert Johnson; the unsolved murder of Jam Master Jay of Run DMC and soul singer Sam Cooke's controversial death.

Brothers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist are the creative force behindReMastered. Jeff Zimbalist was co-director of the 2005 documentaryFavela Rising, an award-winning focus on life in Brazil's slums.

The Marley incident is one of Jamaica's unsolved cases. It took place on December 3, 42 years ago, two days before the reggae star was scheduled to headline the Smile Jamaica peace concert at National Heroes' Park in Kingston.

While rehearsing with his band The Wailers at his Hope Road home, gunmen invaded the compound and opened fire. Marley, his wife Rita, manager Don Taylor and friend Lewis Griffiths were shot and injured.

Riding high at the time with hisRastaman Vibrationalbum and tour, Marley survived the attack and performed at the show. He left Jamaica days after the event and did not return until April 1978 when he was star performer at the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston.

No one was arrested for the shooting which sparked many conspiracy theories. Most people believe it was politically motivated given the bitter rivalry between the JLP and the governing People's National Party.

In November last year, a man calling himself Bill Oxley claimed to be a retired officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He made a 'deathbed confession' that he was part of a plot to kill Marley in 1976.

Oxley was quoted by several American news outlets that the CIA had targeted Marley since the mid-1970s.

“It's not like we didn't warn him. We sent a few guys to shoot up his house in Kingston,” he said, recalling the incident. “We had a message for him. We impressed upon him the gravity of the situation he found himself in. He didn't listen”.

Oxley claims to have later breached Marley's inner circle, posing as a photo journalist, and gave him a pair of sneakers that were “tainted with cancer viruses and bacteria. If it pierced his skin, which it did, it was goodnight nurse”.

The claims were strongly denied by American law enforcement who said the man was a fraud. Marley died from melanoma cancer in May 1981 at age 36.

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