American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/9/88: Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, “Tomorrow People”

Bob Marley died in May of 81 at the tragically young age of 36. He didn’t get too much play in Cincinnati, at least on the stations I tuned in; probably my greatest exposure to his work while he was living occurred in the summer of 76, when cuts from Rastaman Vibration were played on the National Album Countdown. I know more, though still not lots, about his songs now, but Legend, the name given to his posthumous greatest hits album, seems like an accurate descriptor for the man.

Marley’s four oldest children, the three with wife Rita—Cedella, David, and Stephen—plus his adopted daughter Sharon, came together to form the Melody Makers in the mid 80s. In 88, they released their breakthrough fourth album, Conscious Party, produced by Talking Heads members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Led by David—whom we know as Ziggy—they did something their father hadn’t accomplished: make the US Top 40. “Tomorrow People,” which I think is about living in the present and taking care of the business before us now, is a delight. Alas, it spent just this one week on the show, at #39. The AT40 staff had the good sense to anticipate this possibility, as they took the opportunity to have Casey pay respects to their father’s music on this show (it’s the second time this year Marley has received mention—there was also a feature on reggae music in last month’s 6/12/76 rebroadcast).

The kid at the beginning of this clip was on to something: “I don’t want to go to another planet—I’d rather fix this one.”

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