Bob Marley – 1st UK Tour Contract, Guest List & Island Records Letter

A scarce 1973 contract for a four night engagement by Bob Marley & The Wailers at London’s Speakeasy, during their first UK Tour; along with the original guest list and a letter from Island Records.  The contract, signed by the Wailers original tour manager Benjamin Foot, details the band’s May 15-18, 1973 stand at this well known showcase venue, for which they were paid 250 pounds a night.  The contract is signed on behalf of the Speakeasy by Laurie O’Leary.

The guest list includes Paul Rogers of Free and Bad Company, legendary dj’s John Peel and Charlie Gillett, Spencer Davis Group guitarist and Island A&R man Muff Winwood, and well known journalists Charles Shaar Murray, Karl Dallas and Johnnie Walker.  The letter from Robb Winn of Island Records thanks O’Leary “for all your help in the promotion of the Wailers last week, and for your prompt settlement of accounts, etc.”  Also included is a sheet of Speakeasy stationery.  The contract and guest list have a small set of staple holes and a few tiny edge tears.

The Wailers first UK tour was booked by Island following the success of their debut album, Catch A Fire, released in December 1972.  Nearly half of the 21 dates were in Jamaican Reggae clubs, while their London dates were at the stylish Speakeasy.  Journalist Chris Salewicz noted “Such was the buzz created by Catch A Fire that this set of London shows was a complete sell out.  More than that, the first night at the Speakeasy turned into the hippest cultural event that London had experienced that year.”

Previously sold at Christies, London, May 2005.

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