The following is a January 2011 article by former Island Records publicity chief Jeff Walker.  Walker is the husband of my good friend and noted photojournalist Kim Gottlieb-Walker, who took many iconic photos of Bob Marley from 1975-1976.  Her book the ‘Golden Age of Reggae’ (Titan Books), which was recently reviewed on this blog, is a phenomenal collection of stories and photos for a great price for fans of reggae.

Interesting notes about Jeff Walker.

  • From 1974-1977 Jeff was head of publicity for Island Records’ US label where he was at the forefront of introducing Bob Marley and reggae to America. Jeff worked with an amazing roster of artists, including Steve Winwood, Brian Eno, Robert Palmer, The Chieftains, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Sparks, Toots & The Maytals, Michael Nesmith and Richard Thompson.
  • While at Island, Jeff co-founded Antilles Records as a subsidiary and was its first A&R Director, bringing unique albums from around the world to the revolutionary label. Jeff also produced several albums for Antilles, including two albums of West African music that influenced both Peter Gabriel and David Byrne in their explorations of World Music.
  • In 1976, Jeff was at a Kingston hotel with Chris Blackwell to film Marley’s Smile Jamaica concert and was about to leave for a meeting with Bob when gunmen invaded Marley’s complex. Subsequently, Jeff was with Bob for much of the next few harrowing days and produced a documentary that chronicled the attempted assassination and the triumphant concert that followed.

NOTE:  All photos © Kim Gottlieb-Walker,, all rights reserved. From her book “Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae, 1975-76, the Photographs of Kim Gottlieb-Walker.”

Article © High Times Magazine, January 2011