Remarkably, it’s now 40-years since the world lost Bob Marley. Not only did the now-iconic musician bring hope to people all across the globe, but the Jamaican-born artist was the pioneering figure who brought reggae to the masses. Far Out looked at Marley’s role in popularising the genre and how his work changed the world on a cultural level.
There are few more recognisable figures in the world of music than Bob Marley. Step foot down Camden Market, and you’ll be greeted by his face emblazoned on T-shirts, lighters, or anything else that a resourceful mind has unofficially printed. There’s something inimitable about Marley and his strong outlook on the world, which means that even 40 years after his death, his philosophy and approach to life is still as vital as ever.
Not only does Marley’s music occupy a precious place in the heart of millions, but the way that he found success by staying true to his Jamaican roots make him a cultural icon who opened the doors of reggae to a worldwide audience. The genre was born out of the island in the late 1960s, and Marley, along with his merry men, the Wailers, played a pivotal role in establishing a sound that would become idiosyncratic with Jamaica.
It was also a landmark week in the world of Arctic Monkeys as their sixth record, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, turned three, and powerhouse drummer Matt Helders turned 35. The percussionist sits at the beating heart of the group, and we celebrated the secret weapon of South Yorkshire’s finest sons by looking at the five tracks that prove he is a genius.
After receiving a thousand pounds in a bond from his grandparents when he was sixteen, Helders visited his brother in the Cayman Islands for a month, and upon his return to Blighty, with the remainder of the cash, he bought himself his first drum kit. “Turns out it was a good investment,” he would later remark.
Almost twenty years later, Helders has become the most recognisable drummer that Britain has produced this century. On top of every record that he’s broken alongside Arctic Monkeys, Helders has also earned the chance to play alongside his heroes like Josh Homme and Iggy Pop, who he can now count as friends.
One of the undisputed greatest songs of all time, The Kinks track ‘Waterloo Sunset’, also celebrated its anniversary this week. Few songs have been covered as many times as this stone-cold British classic, and Far Out whittled them all down to our favourite five.
The origin of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ has always been steeped in mystery. Due to the way the Kinks’ frontman, and author of the song, Ray Davies, has remained elusive about the subject matter, many rumours exist about the classic effort’s origins.
The romance between Terence Stamp and Julie Christie, stars of 1967’s Far from the Madding Crowd, is one. Another is about Davies’ sister “going off with her boyfriend to a new world” and “going to emigrate and go to another country” is another. The ambiguity surrounding ‘Waterloo Sunset’ gives it that sense of universality and makes it a perfect choice of cover.
Elsewhere, Far Out also took a trip to Cambodia for our ‘Off the Beaten Track’ series. Our very own Tom Taylor writes, “When exploring the lost rock ‘n’ roll of Cambodia, it is befitting to start at the end and work back to the start. The coda to the unspooling story of Cambodian music is a bittersweet one. Music has returned and reclaimed its rightful ever-present place in the droning hum of Cambodia’s ceaseless zeitgeist.
“However, like a pasture that was destroyed beyond repair, it has had to be replanted by hand— thus, it bears the mark of cultivation. The music now filling the streets is often a westernised appropriation, whereas, in the past, it seemed to be a natural celebration and fevered concoction of a musical balm to life. Thankfully, very recently, the scene has been basked in a sanguine hue as the countries cultural past is pursued in the salvation of rediscovery. Musicians of old and their stories are coming to the fore and slowly but surely beginning to reshape the scene once more.”
With their debut album, Life’s A Beach, arriving at the end of May — Leicester’s Easy Life spoke with Far Out to give us the lowdown on the record. “It’s all about wishing you were elsewhere, and the grass is always greener type philosophies,” frontman Murray Matravers says in regards to the escapist themes across the record.
“We deal with loads of stuff [on Life’s A Beach], although nothing too grandiose or thought-provoking,” he adds. “It’s mainly just day-to-day stuff like feeling anxious, or feeling like you should change certain aspects of your life, or why is your best mate cooler than you are and all those kinda things.”
The Far Out Weekly Round-Up:
- Squid – ‘Paddling’
- Sinn Sisamouth – ‘Dance A-Go-Go’
- Easy Life – ‘Skeletons’
- Radiohead – ‘Prove Yourself
- The Kinks – ‘Waterloo Sunset’
- Rolling Stones – ‘Paint It Black’
- Arctic Monkeys – ‘Brick By Brick’
- Chaka Khan – ‘Like Sugar’
- The Style Council – ‘Shout To The Top’
- Roger Waters – ‘4:33AM Running Shoes’
- Neil Young – ‘The Needle and The Damage Done’
- The Beatles – ‘Let It Be’
- Billy Joel -‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’
- Buffalo Springfield – ‘For What It’s Worth’
- Bob Marley – ‘Stir It Up’