Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Joe Higgs lead the Wailers in a seminal performance filmed with four cameras at the Capitol Records Tower on October 24, 1973. Meticulously restored and long believed lost, the previously unseen live session documents the reggae legends at a crucial moment in their career.
In the fall of 1973, Bob Marley was on the cusp of another existence. It is a transitional moment in his career that is perfectly captured in the long-missing-in-action concert film, “The Capitol Session '73.”
In 1963, a fledgling troupe of teenage vocalists from the dirt roads and zinc shanties of Trench Town walked into a studio in Kingston, Jamaica in sharp suits with sharp harmonies to try their luck at stardom. One year earlier, Jamaica had gained its independence from the British monarchy, and though socioeconomic conditions on the island were dire, optimism still ran high.
The Wailers, led by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, had been scoring hits in Jamaica for a decade before they began performing in the U.K. and U.S. Veteran journalist Chris Salewicz describes what those early performances were like.
If there were a hall of fame for pivotal 20th century moments in music, the recently unearthed documentary “The Capitol Session ‘73” should be inducted. The film captures Bob Marley at a career crossroads, a period when he was transitioning into an international star from his decade-long first-among-equals era in the Wailers. In addition, it provides a rare glimpse of three founding fathers of reggae — Marley, Peter Tosh and Joe Higgs (filling in for a fourth Jamaican giant, Bunny Wailer) — sharing the stage for one of the last times as the art form they helped create was starting to break through worldwide. The original Wailers were on the verge of breaking up, but reggae's next, biggest chapter was just beginning.