‘Skill’ Cole Talks More on Bob Marley’s Relationship with Cindy, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and the “Lies” in One Love Biopic – Interview

During a conversation with radio talk show host Mutabaruka, former Bob Marley and the Wailers manager, Allan ‘Skill’ Cole, discussed his friendship with Marley. The former footballer also delved into the separation of Bob Marley and the Wailers and the perceived deceptive storytelling in the Bob Marley: One Love biopic.

During the discussion, Cole shared that he met Marley in the early 1960s, when he was a rising star in football, and Marley was not yet the devoted Rastafarian we know today. Cole said Marley was heavily influenced by prominent Rastafarian elder Mortimo Planno, who taught the young musician about Rastafari and the affairs of the world.

Cole said Planno also instilled a need for independence in Marley, which would lead to the creation of Tuff Gong Records, which the former footballer said he helped launch. Speaking on his time with Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer, Cole said he began managing the group, though he was not familiar with the business.

However, Cole later left the group’s side while he travelled to Brazil, at which point they met and began working with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. Blackwell’s presence would eventually lead to a rift in the group.

According to Cole, while he was away, Marley informed him of the friction in the group. Following his return, Cole said Tosh expressed that he would no longer record for Blackwell as he was disrespectful to them while on tour.

Cole added that a meeting attempting to fix things failed, which would ultimately lead to the formation of the I Threes, which eventually replaced Tosh and Wailer as backup vocals. Tosh and Wailer would go on to perform with Marley again, but they refused to record for Blackwell.

While speaking to Mutabaruka, Cole also disclosed his grievances with Blackwell, sharing that they have had a dispute for years. 

“He’s one of those people who think that he’s supreme and he’s untouchable. But when him a deal wid a man like me, dat don’t ina my vocabulary. So we had some likkle rough argument, and I have to get rough too,” Cole stated.

He further suggested that Blackwell may have been behind his exclusion from Bob Marley: One Love. Sharing his views on the biopic, Mutabaruka disclosed that many scenes, including his own, were severely shortened or cut in the movie. 

In addition to scenes of Cindy Breakspeare being removed from the film, Mutabaruka said scenes based completely on lies were added to the film. According to Mutabaruka and Cole, scenes depicting one of the assassins who tried to kill Marley apologising and deceased Studio One producer Clement Dodd as a gunslinger are completely fabricated.

“Dem show him come back ina di house an a ask fi forgiveness [ … ] an Bob hole him hand like a Jesus like how Jesus would a forgive him [ … ] Bob Marley nah guh do dat rasta,” Mutabaruka stated.

Further discussing Cindy Breakspeare, Cole said that while he will not deny Rita Marley being Marley’s first love, he moved on with Breakspeare.

“…A lot of crazy people envious and jealous [ … ] I was there, and I know it was really a love affair, and it is just what it is,” Cole said.

The two Jamaican elders also talk about Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s connection with Bob Marley and his music via producing.

Listen to the interview with Cole and Mutabaruka below.

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