Former prime minister and music producer, Edward Seaga, compiled an album to mark Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. It’s called, Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music. Host Michel Martin speaks to Mr. Seaga about what he sees as the 100 most significant songs to emerge from the country.
MARTIN: I think many people might forget, as you mentioned, that reggae is message music to a large degree. And I think many people might forget that in 1978, that the rival gangs decided to encourage Bob Marley to return from exile in London to organize a major concert to unite the country. It was called the “One Love Peace Concert.” And I think you and then Prime Minister Michael Manley where there.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BOB MARLEY: Could we have, could we have up here on stage here the presence of Mr. Michael Manley and Mr. Edward Seaga? Oh. I just want to shake hands and show the people that we’re gonna make it right, (Singing) we’re gonna unite, we’re gonna make it right, we’ve got to unite.
MARTIN: I just have to ask you your memories from that moment. What was going on through your mind?
SEAGA: Well, I wasn’t expecting it and I don’t think Michael was either. But it was so appropriate for the occasion that when he asked us to come on stage we just got up and moved on stage immediately. And he immediately held his hands in our hands above his head and gave a little statement about, you know, peace and so on. And Bob had such a strong personality and was followed by so many thousands. You had in the audience people who were antagonistic to other on the streets sitting beside each other, and it really welded everybody together on the occasion. It didn’t last forever, but for quite a time it did what it was supposed to do.
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