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The Night Bob Marley Met ‘Ras Beatle’ John Lennon 

Reggae legend Bob Marley and Beatles founder John Lennon had an unexpected meeting in California, Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin revealed in his new book, ‘Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton and Me.’

Taupin recalled the night he and Lennon were at the ‘On The Rox,’ a bar above The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, when Marley and a large entourage joined them at their table.  The Roxy Theatre was a familiar haunt for Bob Marley & The Wailers, with the group having played there on multiple tours, including their first run in July 1975, the ‘Rastaman Vibration’ tour in 1976, and the ‘Survival’ tour in 1979.

He said Marley and his friends were awed by Lennon, but Taupin was also impressed with the Jamaican singer, describing him as the undeniable center of attention.

“Marley is diminutive by comparison to his compatriots, but by no means a lesser individual,” Taupin wrote in his book.  “It’s obvious he’s the engine, the focal point, the very eye of this mystical hurricane … It’s a surreal scene kicked up a notch when Marley reaches into his shoulder bag and produces a spliff the size of a baby’s arm.”

What followed was a hilarious, albeit hazy, account of an epic smoking session with multiple “large and lethal looking joints.”

Taupin said he and Lennon soon reached a point where they were so high they couldn’t even move. “I’ve been pretty stoned at several points in my life,” he recounted. “In fact I once ingested half a block of opium on a night flight from New York to Barbados and spent two days in the airport because I had no idea where I was. This wasn’t like that. This was like when you hear about those people who are pronounced dead but they’re really still alive and inside they’re screaming and praying for a tear to appear in order to save them from a premature burial.”

The rest of the night was a blur, and Taupin admitted that he couldn’t believe they had made it home safely after the session. “Frankly, in my state it was alarming, and quite honestly if Haile Selassie had floated into the room riding a lion it wouldn’t have been any less disturbing,” he noted. “The rest of the night is unrecountable for obvious reasons, and only the good Lord knows how we managed to wake up in our own beds.”

It’s widely known that Marley met at least one other Beatle.

Lead guitarist George Harrison reportedly met Marley backstage during one of the 1975 dates at The Roxy.  Though details are scarce, it’s said that when Marley was told Harrison was coming backstage, he lit up a joint and exclaimed, “Ras Beatle!” 

George Harrison and Bob Marley. 📸 by Kim Gottlieb-Walker from her book ‘BobMarley and the Golden Age of Reggae’

Marley died on May 11, 1981, at 36, after a battle with cancer.

Lennon died on December 8, 1980, at 40, after he was shot and killed.

Bernie Taupin’s Unconventional Memoir

Speaking on his memoir, which was released in September last year, Taupin expressed his aim to offer fresh and new insights rather than a conventional autobiography.

Elton John, Bernie Taupin

“It was never my intention to write a traditional A to Z autobiography. I began a few years back composing essays and observations on my life that ultimately gained momentum and started to look like a book. It was a lot of fun and immensely beneficial in blowing the dust off a lot of what I’d forgotten about,” he said. 

“Hopefully, there’s something in it for everybody. It’s contemplative, self-assessing, and attempts to stay off the beaten path in not regurgitating what’s already been written.”

Taupin, 73, co-wrote most of Elton John’s songs, dating back to the 1960s, including Rocket Man, Candle in the Wind, Your Song, Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny), Don’t Go Breaking My Heartand Nikita.  It is one of music history’s most successful and longest-running collaborations.  


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