Kubernik: Amazon Kicks Off [RE]DISCOVER Initiative with Bob Marley as Artist of the Month

Amazon Music just announced [RE]DISCOVER, a new global brand developed to support artist catalogs across all music genres. Launched during the first week of August, with Bob Marley as the first Artist of the Month, the [RE]DISCOVER brand showcases carefully curated artist playlists across various genres and takes listeners on a career-spanning journey of musical discovery, or re-discovery, through the featured artist’s entire body of work.

“[RE]DISCOVER was inspired by what many music fans recognize as one of the great joys of the streaming era: our ability to discover or rediscover great music,” said Adam Block, head of catalog music for Amazon Music. “With [RE]DISCOVER, we’ve created a dedicated umbrella under which all catalog music and the stories that accompany them can be experienced. Whether you’re hearing Bob Marley for the first time, or being reminded of his music again, the reward of that experience is real. We’ve created a destination for catalog music that aims to engage both existing fans, and create next generations of them.”

By naming Marley as the [RE]DISCOVER Artist of the Month, Amazon Music is joining Island Records and Universal Music Enterprises in the year-long celebration commemorating Bob Marley’s 75th birthday milestone and his importance in the history of global music. The launch of [RE]DISCOVER and its Artist of the Month campaign also includes the creation of a Bob Marley artist store on Amazon.com, including links to stream and download his music; physical music selections, links to related films and books; and a collection of exclusive merchandise including clothing featuring intimate photos of Marley taken by David Burnett, from his published book titled Soul Rebel available only at the Official Bob Marley Amazon Store.

Later this year, Amazon Music HD will exclusively stream Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers, in immersive 3D Audio on Amazon Music HD as a part of [RE]DISCOVER. Recording engineer Nick Rives created the immersive mixes at the legendary Capitol Studios, where Bob Marley & the Wailers rehearsed during their first American tour in 1973. For the first time, fans will be able to hear iconic songs like “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Exodus,” and “Is This Love” mixed in Dolby Atmos.

“My father’s music has moved and inspired legions of fans around the word, and we’re thrilled Amazon Music has developed a campaign that celebrates the rediscovery of his classics while introducing new favorites to the next generation,” said Cedella Marley. “Never has there been a more crucial time for the world to hear my father’s music and message.”

With Friday firmly established as new music release day for fans around the globe Amazon Music has established the first Tuesday of each month as its launch day for catalog music initiatives such as [RE]DISCOVER Artist of the Month, new editorial and marketing initiatives including, short video features, and up to 20 new playlists.

In 2020  the Bob Marley’s 75th birthday celebrations continued with the announcement of Bob Marley: Legacy; a 12-part mini-documentary series, featuring a collection of intimate conversations and interviews with his family, friends and fans, woven together with his original music, remixes and covers. This unique YouTube series provides fans a refreshing and cinematic journey through the life, legacy and relevance Bob Marley still holds in this present day. The first episode, Marley 75  debuted in February 2020 on Bob Marley’s official YouTube page.

In this digital era, Bob Marley remains one of the most followed posthumous artists on social media, and MARLEY75 will serve to bring his music and message to the digital foreground, reaching new audiences and perspectives with innovative content and groundbreaking technology. Special live events, exclusive digital content, recordings, exhibitions, plus rare and unearthed treasures will also be revealed throughout the year. Bob Marley's music continues to inspire generation upon generation, as his legacy lives on through his message of love, justice and unity, a sentiment needed more than ever in 2020.

In conjunction with Tuff Gong and UMe, a division of the Universal Music Group, the Marley family will continue to ensure the highest quality, integrity and care is taken to honor Bob's legacy and to celebrate one of the 20th century's most important and influential figures.

The Marley family and Universal have teamed up for a Marley YouTube channel. Their initial offering is a spectacular first episode of what promises to be a total of twelve mini-docs involving family, friends and former co-workers of Bob Marley. Therein, we find folks like Jeff Walker, Marley’s publicist at the time of the assassination attempt on his life in 1976, and Jeff’s wife, the photographer Kim Gottleib-Walker, who took some of the most famous images of the singer. Several of Marley’s grandchildren, artists themselves, make emotional appearances. There are excerpts from live shows, and a soundtrack that promises unreleased music from deep in the vaults. The series will definitely be a must-see for all of Bob’s fans.

Bob Marley: Legacy 75 Years A Legend is an ongoing documentary series through the life, legacy, and relevance that Bob Marley still holds in this present day is also available now on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel.

One episode in June 2020, Rhythm of the Game, explored Marley’s well-known love of soccer and his longstanding connection between the game and his music. Delving deep into the archives, never before told anecdotes are revealed on Bob’s life and his impact on the world.

The YouTube channel in spring 2020 also live-streamed Bob Marley & the Wailers Live At The Rainbow.

The Rainbow DVD demonstrates that it was one of the greatest shows of his life and he was lucky to have it photographed so well. Marley as warrior and messenger sang and debuted the whole first side of the Exodus album, which had only been available for a few days, so the excited throng had never heard any of these tunes before.

I witnessed Bob Marley & the Wailers’ cosmic California shows numerous times in the mid and late 1970s, and interviewed the band members in West Hollywood at the Island Records office one smoky afternoon in 1977 for Melody Maker.

Reggae music scholar and Marley expert Roger Steffens is the author of So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley” which Rolling Stone headlined, “Might Be the Best Bob Marley Book Ever.”

Steffens, one of the men who introduced reggae to America, also underscores that crucial to the overall impact of the Wailers’ concerts in 1977 was the presence of all the I Three.

“One or another would sometimes miss tours because of pregnancies. But at the Rainbow, Jamaica's female version of The Three Tenors - the magnificent trio of Jamaica's most precious songstresses, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley's wife Rita - added an elegant visual and aural element. And when they sang, ‘One day the bottom will drop out,’ they bent their knees and shook their bottoms in girlish abandon.”

The inspiring Rainbow shows, held over three nights in Finsbury Park, one of the most racially mixed neighborhoods of London, were the hottest ducat in town. The riotously received shows benefited from the imaginative and culture-shaping lighting of Wailers’ art director Neville Garrick who also designed many of Marley's most famous album covers.

In 2019 Bob Marley was also the subject of Netflix’s original documentary series ReMastered, which investigated high-profile events affecting some of the most legendary names in music, presenting groundbreaking discoveries and insights beyond what’s been previously reported.

The 8-track series launched on October with Who Shot the Sheriff? directed by Kief Davidson. The violent political suppression of the roots reggae movement in Jamaica is told through an investigation into Jamaican politics and the CIA’s involvement in the mysterious assassination attempt on Bob Marley’s life in December 1976. Roger Steffens was featured.

“It’s crucial in one very important regard,” Steffens recalled, “because the man suspected of giving the order to eliminate Marley, the right-wing leader Edward Seaga, all but admitted in one of his final interviews that it was his people who came to kill Marley, but he always had at least two layers between himself and those who undertook actions he initiated, to shield him from guilt. Following the shooting, which wounded Bob in the chest and arm, Marley took refuge in London. He resumed touring six months later, including a run there at the Rainbow Theatre.”

Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map, but as a statesman in his native Jamaica, who famously brought together the country’s warring factions — symbolized by rival politicians Michael Manley and Edward Seaga joining hands on-stage -- during his legendary One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, which took place on April 22, 1978, less than six weeks before his Music Hall performance in Boston.

It was four years since Marley and the band arrived from Jamaica, with the 1977 release of Exodus, recorded in London just after an assassination attempt on his life, turned into not just a socio-political statement, but one which included such hits as the title track, “Waiting In Vain” and “One Love,” paving the way for their next release Kaya and a world tour in ’78.  Together with his music’s theme of liberation, Marley’s own rags-to-riches story brought inspiration to subjugated people around the world, where he was revered as a larger-than-life leader.

Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century’s most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley’s lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music.

In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 74 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley’s music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide.

(HARVEY KUBERNIK is the author of 19 books, including Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972.   Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. For 2021 they are writing a multi-narrative book on Jimi Hendrix for the same publisher.

Otherworld Cottage Industries on July 30th published Kubernik’s 508-page book, Docs That Rock, Music That Matters, featuring Kubernik interviews with D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Murray Lerner, Morgan Neville, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Andrew Loog Oldham, John Ridley, Curtis Hanson, Dick Clark, Travis Pike, Allan Arkush, and David Leaf, among others.    

Kubernik’s writings are in several book anthologies, most notably The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski. He was the project coordinator of the recording set The Jack Kerouac Collection.

During 2006 Harvey Kubernik spoke at the special hearings initiated by The Library of Congress that were held in Hollywood, California, discussing archiving practices and audiotape preservation.

In 2020 Harvey served as Consultant on Laurel Canyon: A Place In Time documentary directed by Alison Ellwood which debuted om May 2020 on the EPIX/MGM television channel.

Kubernik has just penned a back cover book jacket endorsement for author Michael Posner’s book on Leonard Cohen that Simon & Schuster, Canada, will be publishing this fall 2020, Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years). •