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Marley’s former backing singer believes the late Rasta reggae star would have converted to Christianity if he was still alive—


JUDY MOWATT believes Bob Marley would be a Christian if he was alive today.

The Jamaican songstress, who rose to fame as a member of Marley’s backing group The I-Threes, was a Rasta for 22 years, before converting to Christianity in 1998.

Reflecting on what Marley – who had himself embraced the Rastafari faith throughout his lifetime – might have made of her Christian conversion, Mowatt says that a conversation she had with Marley’s widow Rita, led her to believe that the Redemption Song hitmaker may have been converting to Christianity before his death.

“I think Bob Marley would be at the same place [as me],” Mowatt said of the reggae star, who succumbed to cancer in 1981. “I say this because I remember when he was in his transition – when he was leaving this Earth – he was in such excruciating pain.

“I remember his wife telling me that she went to the hospital and he [Marley] said, ‘Jesus, take me.’ At the time, I wondered‎: ‘What is the meaning of that?’ I didn’t mention to Rita that I was curious, but I knew I would get the answer someday.”

TOP TRIO: Marley with his backing singers The I-Threes (l-r) Mowatt, Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths

Mowatt continued: “Years later, a friend of mine, Bunny Brown from [reggae/soul vocal group] The Chosen Few, said to me that his sister was a nurse at the hospital where Bob was and he told me that his sister had led him [Marley] to the Lord. She told him about Jesus and she led him to the Lord.

“So when Rita heard him say, ‘Jesus, take me’, it made sense. You cannot call on the name of Jesus without knowing him.”

Asked if she had ever shared her thoughts with Rita – who was also a member of The I-Threes, along with singer Marcia Griffiths – Mowatt says: “I think I’ve reminded her of that [conversation we had] and she said she didn’t remember saying it. But that is something that I will never forget.

COMING SOON: Mowatt and a host of reggae stars will embark on a UK tour this week

“Sometimes people might say something to you but they say it in passing – not realising the impact of what they’re saying is having on you.”

Following her own Christian conversion, Mowatt, who earned a Grammy nomination for her 1985 solo album Working Wonders, took a break from the music industry so she could become “more devoted to my Christian faith.”

Still committed to the faith, serving as the worship leader at her church, Mowatt has since returned to the music scene. She will embark on a UK tour this week alongside her former I-Threes group member Marcia Griffiths and fellow reggae stars Bob Andy, Richie Spice and Tanya Stephens.

Judy Mowatt

Judy Mowatt

“I am really excited because I haven’t been to the UK for quite some time,” Mowatt says. “I’m looking forward to seeing my UK family and when I say family, I mean those who have enjoyed my music throughout the years.

“They have stood with me with each album I’ve released and even when there was no album, they still wanted to see me. I call them family.”

* Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy, Richie Spice and Tanya Stephens will perform in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Bristol from August 28-31. For details, visit

* Read the full exclusive interview with Judy Mowatt in the next issue of The Voice, out this Thursday (Aug 27).

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