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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING FILM-MAKER, BARRY MORROW, YEARNS TO DO MOVIE ON BOB MARLEY!

ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING FILM-MAKER, BARRY MORROW, YEARNS TO DO MOVIE ON BOB MARLEY!

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—-

 Top: Barry Morrow on the set of his latest film, Smitten, in northern Italy.
Bottom: Reggae legend Bob Marley—

IT was the summer of 1974 and, according to film-maker Barry Morrow, “every long-haired youth in the US was digging (Eric) Clapton’s hit, I Shot The Sheriff ”.

Not long after, those youth, which included Morrow, discovered that the song was written and originally done the previous year by Bob Marley and The Wailers.

Yesterday was 35 years since Marley died from cancer at age 36. I Shot The Sheriff struck a chord with Morrow, who later won an Academy award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer of the 1988 film, Rain Man.

By mid-1974, Marley had completed Natty Dread, his first solo album which would be released in October that year by Island Records.

 NattyDread:albumcover

In a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer, Morrow, 66, described the original I Shot The Sheriff as “even cooler” than Clapton’s. For many white youth who were big into guitar rock, it was their introduction to Marley and authentic reggae.“It was then that The Wailers came into our consciousness. It was a revelation, and the beginning of a musical love affair with Bunny (Wailer), Peter (Tosh) and especially the group’s magnetic Bob,” Morrow said.

Morrow was born and raised in the Midwest state of Minnesota, which is also the birthplace of folk icon Bob Dylan. He discovered Jamaican music in the 1960s through two classic songs.

“I grew up in middle-America, far from the East Coast and the Caribbean, so my first exposure to the rhythms coming out of Jamaica was probably Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop, and later the Desmond Dekker hit, Israelites. I really liked the haunting quality of that song and it stuck with me,” he recalled.

Millie Small

Millie Small

In terms of Marley, Morrow’s favorites include the staples Could You Be Loved, Redemption Song, No Woman No Cry and One Love. He is also into The Wailers’ edgier material.

“I started digging down into rocksteady and other roots music – all the Studio One stuff, and, of course, Lee Perry’s,” he said. “I came to see that The Wailers stood just as tall as The Beatles in terms of their evolution and range. So I’d have to add to my favorite’s list, singles like Simmer Down or My Cup, Bunny’s unbelievably beautiful Dreamland and Peter’s Mawga Dog and Stop The Train.”

Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, is the moving story about a con artist (Cruise) and his autistic brother (Hoffman). It won four Academy awards.

Rainman

Morrow is currently in the production stages of his film, Smitten. A Marley project is always in his thoughts.

“It’s been a long-standing dream of mine to do a film about the early years of Bob, Bunny, Peter, Rita (Marley), and all the other originals, starting with the Wailing Wailers in the mid-60’s and ending the story around 1972, just when the band was getting famous,” he said. “You can glean a lot of truth about artists from their ‘roots’ years, and the songs from that era have never been fully known or appreciated outside of Jamaica. Maybe the world will get lucky one day and see that happen.”

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