We all know that the US is getting set to play Jamaica tonight in a World Cup Qualifier. I’ve been seeing some images coming out of the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica and so I wanted to do a little digging on the stadium. We’ve heard countless times what a difficult stadium it is to play in and so I wanted to learn a little more about it.
One of the things that I learned about the stadium as I was doing some digging was that it held an incredibly important concert back in 1978. At the time of the concert, Jamaica was going through a political civil war between the Jamaican Labour Party and the People’s National Party. The concert which was called the One Love Peace Concert was held on April 22, 1978, it featured 16 of reggae’s biggest acts and was dubbed the Third World Woodstock. The concert attracted more than 32,000 spectators with the proceeds of the show going towards “much needed sanitary facilities and housing for the sufferahs in West Kinston.”
So after a full day of music by a variety of acts, Bob Marley takes the stage at 12.30am. Sitting in the crowd were the leaders of the opposing political parties. The whole concert comes to a climax when Bob Marley calls the leaders to the stage and joins their hands during his performance of Jammin.
Bob said the following as he called the two politicians to stage:
“Just let me tell you something (yeah), to make everything come true, we gotta be together. (Yeah, yeah, yeah) and through the spirit of the Most High, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, we’re inviting a few leading people of the slaves to shake hands. . . To show the people that you love them right, to show the people that you gonna unite, show the people that you’re over bright, show the people that everything is all right. Watch, watch, watch, what you’re doing, because I wanna send a message right out there. I mean, I’m not so good at talking but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. Well, I’m trying to say, could we have, could we have, up here onstage here the presence of Mr. Michael Manley and Mr. Edward Seaga. I just want to shake hands and show the people that we’re gonna make it right, we’re gonna unite, we’re gonna make it right, we’ve got to unite . The moon is right over my head, and I give my love instead. The moon was right above my head, and I give my love instead.”
I don’t know a whole lot about what was going on politically in Jamaica at this time, but it seems that Bob Marley was probably one of the few people that could get the leaders of the opposing political parties on stage together.
There is plenty of history in the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, and this story is just one of them.
And since we are talking about Bob, and since this is a soccer site, I had to throw up a picture of the legend playing soccer.
Best of luck to our US National Team tonight at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.