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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » NEAR SETTLEMENT REACHED BETWEEN ALLAN “SKILL” COLE AND CHRIS BLACKWELL, OVER UNPAID ROYALTIES!

NEAR SETTLEMENT REACHED BETWEEN ALLAN “SKILL” COLE AND CHRIS BLACKWELL, OVER UNPAID ROYALTIES!

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—

 Allan ‘Skill’ Cole—-

IN Jamaican parlance, Allan ‘Skill’ Cole and Bob Marley were ‘bonifide bredrin’. They shared a passion for football and music. They wrote several of Marley’s most popular songs which Cole says was based on their bond. He never foresaw any legal complications.

The 65-year-old Cole, who has been at odds with Island Records cofounder Chris Blackwell over unpaid royalties for decades, told the Jamaica Observer last week that they are nearing an agreement.

“We are in the process of coming to an understanding an’ settlement over songs not written by Bob, or co-written by Bob,” said Cole.

The songs involved are Zimbabwe, credited to Marley on his 1979 album, Survival, but actually written by Donald Leach; War, Johnny Was, Rat Race and Time Will Tell.

Bob Marley & Allan "Skill" Cole

Bob Marley & Allan “Skill” Cole

Cole is credited as writer of War, from Rastaman Vibration, Marley’s 1976 album. Though he claims to have co-written Johnny Was and Rat Race (also on Rastaman Vibration) and Time Will Tell (from 1978’s Kaya) with Marley, his name does not appear in the composers bracket.The albums were distributed by Island.

“We an’ Bob did have a different understanding… As Rasta wi neva deal wid certain thing,” said Cole. “To us, a man word is him covenant.”

Considered one of Jamaica’s finest footballers, Cole was a key member of Marley’s inner circle. They first met in 1969, with Cole acting as manager of Wailers, the group which included Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny ‘Wailers’ Livingston.

Chris Blackwell

Chris Blackwell

When Marley went solo in 1973, Cole became his road manager.

He was the reggae star’s road manager for his final tour in 1980, just months before Marley died from cancer in a Miami hospital in May 1981 at age 36.

A Jamaica College ‘old boy’, Leach was from Mona in St Andrew and an administrator at the Twelve Tribes of Israel organisation of which Marley and Cole were members.

Leach moved to Ethiopia in 1975 and became an integral part of the Rastafarian community in Shashamane. He died there two years ago and is survived by his wife and six children.

Cole, who first met Blackwell in the early 1970s, is relieved that there will finally be closure to a bitter issue. He stressed that there is a lesson to be learned from It, especially for upcoming songwriters.

“Don’t tek nuthin for granted, don’t mek sentiments an’ friendship get in the way. Get yuh publishing together,” he said.

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