BY HOWARD CAMPBELL—
When the paperback edition of Roger Steffens’ sensational book, So Much Things To Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley, is released next year, it will have an additional interview with someone who was close to the reggae king.
Cindy Breakspeare, Marley’s lover and mother of his son Damian, counters a claim by his former manager Danny Sims that Rita Marley served her and Marley breakfast in bed.
Sims is one of the individuals who Steffens interviewed for the book. He told Steffens that while an ailing Marley was staying at his Manhattan apartment in the summer of 1980, his wife Rita willingly served Bob and Breakspeare breakfast in bed.
The 75-year-old Steffens told the Jamaica Observer that he was recently contacted by Breakspeare.
“She was concerned that the Marleys would think that she made the statement. It was made by Danny Sims, not Cindy. She absolutely denies that this ever happened,” said Steffens.
‘So Much Things To Say’ is built around interviews Steffens had with people close to Marley, who died from cancer in 1981. Breakspeare, Sims, Bunny Wailer, Joe Higgs, Allan “Skill” Cole, and Lee Jaffe are some of the key players.
Sims, a black American who first met Marley in the 1960s, gave some of the book’s most interesting tales. He also claims Marley met with members of the Gambino Mafia family in April 1980 to seek “protection”.
The controversial Sims actually had Mob connections. He died in 2012.
Marley, a notorious womaniser, had an open relationship with Breakspeare, who was Miss World 1976. Their affair was covered extensively by the tabloids, especially in the United Kingdom where Marley lived during the late 1970’s.
Rita Marley is matriarch of the Marley estate, which is a multi-million-dollar empire. Steffens is not aware of any contact between her and Breakspeare.
“She (Breakspeare) tries to have a civil relationship with Rita as far as I can tell,” said Steffens.
Since his first Marley book, Bob Marley: Spirit Dancer (co-written with Bruce Talamon), Steffens has written reams of stories and liner notes, as well as contributed to documentaries and conferences covering the artiste’s life and legacy.