Danny Sims, the African-American impresario who produced over 100 songs with Marley and The Wailers, says Cole’s tome is an accurate recollection of Marley’s rise to superstardom to his death from cancer at age 36 in 1981.
“We’ve been working on this book for eight years and it is the true story of Bob Marley; his love affairs, his life, his children,” Sims told the Jamaica Observer.
Cole says the book, which is entitled The Bob Marley I Know, was done with a ghost writer. It covers a close friendship from the late 1960s when he first met Marley at a football match in Trench Town to 1980 when he accompanied the ailing singer/songwriter to Germany for cancer treatment.
The former Santos, Boys’ Town and Jamaica footballer revisits topics other Marley bios have sensationally covered. The difference, he says, is that he is telling the truth.
“All the books published about him are crazy, a lot of myths and lies,” Cole said. “People who yuh neva expect fi tell lies, tell lies.”
Sims, who first met Marley and the Wailers in the late 1960s, agrees. He said previous Marley bios including 1994’s Marley and Me by former Marley manager Don Taylor, are filled with outrageous innuendo.
“I don’t think Don Taylor was credible, neither did Bob Marley,” said Sims.
Cole and Sims were part of Marley’s management at the time of his death.
Cole was with him when he collapsed while jogging in Central Park in September 1980, during the New York leg of his United States tour.
Marley had suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with a brain tumour which forced him to cancel the tour after his September 21 show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cole travelled with him to Germany where he received radical treatment at Dr Josef Issels’ Bavarian clinic.
Cole was at the peak of his playing career in the mid-1970s when he doubled as Marley’s road manager. He is credited as writer of War, from the singer’s 1976 Rastaman Vibration album.
Born in Mississippi but raised in Chicago and New York City, Sims went into the entertainment business in the late 1950s. He brought several soul artistes to Jamaica in the early 1960s, including singer Johnny Nash who recorded with local producers such as Vincent ‘Randy’ Chin.
Sims and Nash eventually settled in Jamaica and met the Wailers which at the time comprised Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston. He produced many songs with the group for his and Nash’s JAD Records label and signed them to his Cayman Publishing company.
Now in his 70s, Sims lives in the Dominican Republic and still releases Marley compilation albums from the JAD catalogue. Yesterday, he was in Kingston for the scheduled premier of the documentary Marley, at Emancipation Park.