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The One Love Peace Concert was a large concert held on April 22, 1978 at The National Stadium in Kingstonmarker, Jamaicamarker.

This concert was held during a political civil war in Jamaicamarker between opposing parties Jamaican Labour Party and the People's National Party. The concert came to its peak during Bob Marley & The Wailers' performance of "Jammin'", when Marley joined the hands of political rivals Michael Manley (PNP) and Edward Seaga (JLP).

Concert background

Since he was elected Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1972, Michael Manley pursued a socialist agenda intended to redistribute wealth by privatizing the countries major export industries. His agenda proved to be financially unsustainable, as his policies deterred foreign investment in Jamaica. Beginning in 1974, he was opposed by the more conservative Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and the two politicians hired local gangsters to help them increase their hold on power.

Ironically, the idea for the One Love Peace Concert came from two such gangsters from rival political factions, who happened to be locked up in the same jail cell together and who both wanted to alleviate the violence. Claudius 'Claudie' Massop (JLP) and Aston 'Bucky' Marshall (PNP) decided that the best means to bring the country together was to use music as a uniting factor and organize a major concert. Quickly realizing that Bob Marley was a critical element upon which their success depended, Massop flew to London after being released from jail to convince Marley to perform at the event. Marley accepted the invitation, and the concert was Marley’s first performance in Jamaica since he was almost assassinated there in 1976.

The concert

The One Love Peace Concert brought together 16 of Reggae’s biggest acts, and was dubbed by the media as the "Third World Woodstock", "Bob Marley plays for Peace" and simply, "Bob Marley Is Back." 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.” The concert was kicked off at exactly 5:00 PM with a message from Asfa Wossen, the crown prince of Ethiopia, praising the concert organizers’ efforts to restore peace in Jamaica. This introduction to the event is important in illustrating the growing prevalence of Rastafarianism in everyday Jamaican culture. The concert was divided into two halves, with the first half devoted to showcasing some of Reggae's newer talent, and the second half devoted to the more established artists.

Jacob Miller energetically launched the second half of the concert, during which time Edward Seaga and Michael Manley got to their seats. The highlight of Miller’s performance came when he “leaped onto the field with lighted spliff herb and offered it to a police man, donned the lawman’s helmet, jumped back onto the stage and continued the number as he paraded the herb.” Alternatively, Peter Tosh took the opportunity during his performance to berate the two political leaders sitting directly in front of him for their positions against legalizing marijuana. His set lasted 66 minutes, and Tosh spent almost half of that time denouncing the problems prevalent in society. At around 12:30 AM, Bob Marley took the stage to perform some of his biggest hits. The climax came during his performance of Jammin’ when he called both Manley and Seaga to the stage, and in a symbolic gesture, the three held up their hands together to signify their unity.

Bob Marley said the following as he called the two politicians onstage, and while he held their hands above his head and said while improvising on "Jammin'":

The impact of the concert

Unfortunately, the event did little to quell the political violence and the event's two organizers, Massop and Marshall were both killed within two years after the concert. Manley’s critics argue that the he used his appearance at the concert to demonstrate the bond he shared with the Jamaican sufferahs and Rastafarians. Within a few weeks of his appearance, he called for an election and won with a significant margin, only further escalating the violence between the two major parties. In fact, it is not until Bob Marley’s funeral in 1981, that the two political figures met each other in person and once again shook hands.

This Symbolism of two political parties brought forth an idea quite unheard of in the political community. The idea of cooperation, and that political elections, should not be seen as the struggle for power between two or more parties, but the growth of the country as a whole in the hopes of being united under the banner of love for ones country. This concert also had a large impact on the ongoing cold war with U.S.S.R and the U.S. which ended in 1989.


  • The Meditations
    • "Life Is Not Easy"
    • "Woman Is Like A Shadow"
  • Althea and Donna
    • "Uptown Top Ranking"
  • Dillinger
    • "Teeth And Tongue"
    • "The War Is Over"
    • "Eastman Skank"
  • The Mighty Diamonds
    • "Keep On Moving"
    • "There's No Me Without You"
    • "I Need A Roof"
  • Junior Tucker
    • "Happy"
    • "Mrs Melody"
  • Culture
    • "Natty Never Get Weary"
    • "Natty Dread Taking Over"
    • "Stop This Fussing & Fighting"
  • Dennis Brown
    • "Children of Israel"
    • "Love Me Always"
    • "Milk & Honey"
    • "Whip Them Jah"
    • "How Could I Leave"
  • Trinity
    • "Who Say They A Gone"
    • "Already"
    • "Yabby You Sound"
  • Leroy Smart
    • "Ballistic Affair"
  • Jacob Miller and Inner Circle
    • "Forward Jah Jah Children"
    • "I'm A Natty"
    • "Discipline Child"
    • "Shakey Girl"
    • "Top Ranking Special"
    • "Tired Fe Lick Weed"
    • "Peace Treaty Special"
  • Big Youth
    • "I Pray Thee"
    • "Every Nigger Is A Star"
    • "In This Ya Time"
    • "House of Dreadlocks"
    • "Isiah The First Prophet Of Old"
    • "Peace At Last"
    • "Old Man River"
    • "Hit The Road Jack"
  • Beres Hammond
    • "Smile"
    • "I Miss You"
    • "One Step Ahead"
  • Peter Tosh
  • Ras Michael and The Sons of Negus
    • "Ethiopian National Anthem"
    • "None A Jah Jah Children No Cry"
    • "Come Down"
    • "In A Amagideon"
    • "A New Name"
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers
    • "Lion of Judah"
    • "Natural Mystic"
    • "Trenchtown Rock"
    • "Natty Dread"
    • "Positive Vibration"
    • "War"
    • "Jammin'"
    • "One Love / People Get Ready"
    • "Jah Live"

External links

Song Jammin and Mr. Michael Manley and Mr. Edward Seaga are shake hands.Bob Marley united Jamaica.

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