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December 26, 2022

In 1972, Bob Marley and Johnny Nash Performed a Free Concert for Students of the Peckham Manor School, London

In March 1972, Bob Marley and Johnny Nash performed a free gig at a secondary school in south London after a chance encounter with an art teacher in a central London nightclub. Ex-NUT member Keith Baugh said about his role in the making of a legend and how he found himself taking these iconic photographs.

“Towards the end of March 1972, I visited the Bag O’Nails nightclub off London’s Carnaby Street with my friend Martin who worked for CBS recording studios. During the evening a couple of very cool dudes sauntered over and joined us at our table. Martin introduced me to the American singer Johnny Nash, who had just recorded an album at CBS, and then to Bob Marley who leaned over with a big smile and quietly said: “I just the songwriter.”

“One of the album tracks recorded by Johnny was the Bob Marley song Stir It Up, which had been released as a single a couple of weeks earlier. The record was not selling well and both Johnny and Bob were clearly frustrated that the disc had not broken into the top 40, which would have automatically meant national radio and TV exposure.

“Martin talked over publicity options with plans for interviews on local radio stations involving travel to far-flung parts of the UK, which didn’t seem to go down so well with the two musicians. It was at that moment I broke into the conversation and said: “Why don’t you guys come down to the school in Peckham where I teach and do an acoustic performance for the students? The school has a large games hall and you would have a target audience of a few hundred record-buying teenagers.”

“Johnny said: “Yeah! that sounds cool.” Bob smiled and said: “Nice.” By the following day I had completely forgotten about the suggestion.”

(Photos by © Keith Baugh)


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