The Wailers were among the first American Garage bands. They were the first Reggae act to be signed to an international record label: Chris Blackwell and Island Records, in 1972. It was the Wailers who created the path which led to the development of Seattle's grunge rock sound through their pioneering work with the rock 'n' roll and r'n'b combo. They are attributed with having created the framework for the sixties rock explosion in the Northwest. Acts such as Paul Revere and the Raiders aspired to be as big as The Wailers were.
The sound and energy of The Wailers grew out of their artistic and spiritual integrity and was developed during their teenage years. Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh together formed the nucleus of the band. These three artists were brought together by their common humble beginnings and the tutelage provided by Joe Higgs, a devout Rasta, at his home on Third Street. Higgs held a free musical clinic and taught the youths in the area about the art of musical performance. Everything including harmony techniques, breath control, music theory and song writing were on the syllabus, which was aimed at motivating the youngsters and keeping them out of trouble.
At just 16-years-old, Bob's first taste of the industry was marred by his 1961 disassociation from Leslie Kong and his Beverley label, due to the producer's failure to pay him money for songs he recorded. Undeterred, Bob formed a group with Bunny and Peter; along with Junior Braithwaite and back up singers Beverley Kelson and Cherry Smith. They called themselves "The Teenagers", which later became "The Wailing Rudeboys"; "The Wailing Wailers"; and eventually "The Wailers" (the name that resonated).
The group’s name, "The Wailers," evoked not only their style of singing but also the hardships they endured growing up in Trench Town Kingston, Jamaica. The group earned a contract with Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label and, after recording "I’m Still Waiting" and "It Hurts to Be Alone", Cherry and Junior left the group. Consequently, Bob Marley’s career as a lead vocalist was born. He sang lead when the group recorded their hit song "Simmer Down" and the hits continued to proliferate from Studio One.
Bob stood out front when the band performed, but there was no real defined leadership position; instead all the members functioned not as individuals, but as The Wailers. When Bob left for Delaware to earn money for his own record label, the Wailers made few attempts to work without him. In his absence, when they did perform, Bunny Wailer sang lead and Bob's wife Rita filled in for Beverley Kelson. In addition, Rita’s cousin, named Dream, filled in with harmony.
Bob attempted to launch his own label the Wail 'n' Soul 'M and had the Wailers and the Soulettes (with Rita) as its first acts. Unfortunately, it was not financially lucrative and had to be closed down.
The Wailers were propelled into the international arena in 1972 through their involvement with Chris Blackwell and Island Records. They now had access to the best recording facilities and were marketed and promoted extensively. This merger marked the departures of Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, as well as the addition of the "I Threes" (with Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt) and Al Anderson (an American guitarist). Notably, there was also a name change: to "Bob Marley and the Wailers."
Some members of the Wailers remained with the band throughout their careers and have even recorded with Bob’s son Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. These members include Tyrone Downie (keyboards), Junior Marvin (guitar), and Earl "Wire" Lindo (also on guitar).
The contribution of the Wailers to the development of music is undeniable. They were not only responsible for changes in the very perception of reggae, but also managed to transform the industry on a mammoth scale. For the band, music was not just about making money, it was a missionary work; a means of touching the very souls of their audience. They pushed the envelope by expanding the sound to include both R&B and rock 'n' roll, setting off an electric reaction throughout the music world.
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Through the joint work of families living in extreme hardship and youth volunteers, TECHO seeks to overcome poverty. “Rockers Movement will amplify our message and continue to scream that Miami is committed to overcoming poverty,”
Rockers Movement expresses our hopes and dreams of a world in which what we have in common is far greater than that which divides us. Through their Festivals, we live not by looking at each other but by looking together in the same direction.
Food For The Poor would like to thank Rockers Movement and their supporters for channeling their passion for music to raise awareness about the critical needs of the poor. Your compassion and generosity will help us triumph over hunger. When organizations with a common goal come together to serve, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
The City of Miami takes pleasure in celebrating Rockers movement events that bring together music and food from around the world. We welcome this coming together structured as a Zero Waste Initiative, an act of community consciousness that educates by example, and augmented by the musical power of groups from around the world. It is fitted and appropriate that local officials, on behalf of our residents, pause to hail this festive music event that promotes Reggae's "land & people' heritage.
Music is the fabric of our society and the City of Miami Gardens takes pride in recognizing those initiatives that celebrate and honor the art of music; and Now , Therefor, be it resolved that I, Oliver Gilbert, Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens, Florida along with my colleagues of the City Council, on behalf of the Residents, do hereby commend the Rockers Movement on their significant contributions to the South Florida community and urge all Residents to partake in their events.
Music has always had the power to unite and inspire humanitarianism. "The Miami Reggae Festival takes it to the top, offering the highest quality of performance, political ambience and service to community available anywhere. “Truly international in orientation, there is no other place where one can experience such a rich presentation of the best in music talent. Miami proves again, this time through its Reggae Festival, that it is the place to be for the internationalizing of Caribbean culture.