Monday, November 16, 2020

Chris Blackwell on Bob Marley, James Bond and Jamaica

Chris Blackwell

Bob Curley
Caribbean Journal

If a fortune teller had stirred her tea leaves left instead of right one day in 1962, the world outside of Jamaica might never have heard of ska, reggae, or Bob Marley.

That’s how close legendary record producer and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell came to choosing to chase stardom in Hollywood rather than following has passion for music into a career that would lead the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to declare him “the single person most responsible for turning the world on to reggae music.”

“I worked as a ‘gopher’ on the first Bond movie (Dr. No, which was filmed in Jamaica), and it was a great experience,” said Blackwell, interviewed from his Oracabessa, Jamaica home, which also is the location of Blackwell’s Goldeneye resort. “I had mixed feelings about whether I should stay in the music business or go into the movies. So I went to a fortune teller. The woman had a cup of tea, and we were looking into the cup and she said, ‘I think you should keep doing what you are doing.’”

Blackwell — a lifelong music fan born in England but raised in Jamaica — had already started dabbling in music production by his early 20s. Having bounced between jobs working for a local politician, renting motor scooters, and teaching tourists how to water-ski, Blackwell was working at the Half Moon hotel in Montego Bay when he heard a visiting band from Bermuda perform.  Read more >>