George Harrison Said the Way Bob Marley Looked and Moved on Stage Was Like Something out of a Dream

George Harrison was astounded when he first saw Jamaican rock legend, Bob Marley, perform. He said the way Marley looked and moved on stage was like something out of a dream.

Bob Marley performing in London in 1976.
Bob Marley | Erica Echenberg/Getty Images

George Harrison was amazed by Bob Marley

During a 1979 interview for BBC Radio 1 (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), George told David Jensen that he was “hypnotized” by Marley during a performance.

“Yeah, yeah. I like reggae,” George said. “In fact, the first time I saw Bob Marley I was so impressed with his band and the show, I went back… I mean I stayed for the second show, and I went back the next night and saw him again, so…

“Bob Marley in particular, because, apart from the musical thing–I mean, it’s sort of hypnotical–apart from that, I just liked the way he looked and the way he moved, sort of like he was in a dream. I don’t know why.”

George didn’t enjoy many contemporary artists. So, his compliments about Marley are surprising.

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George said reggae was like The Beatles

The former Beatle compared reggae to The Beatles’ music.

“It is,” George explained. “It’s incredible–it’s like, well, like Lord Buckley said, ‘It’s just like a jitterbug, it’s so simple it evades me.’ It is. It’s like the hardest thing really to play right. I decided a few years ago that the way it must have evolved–or the way it could have evolved–was that, they were probably copying rock ‘n’ roll, or copying the music of the ’60s, like we were, like a lot of the stuff we did, we were trying to do like other people but we could never do it right, and it turned into something else.

“And I think that’s how reggae–they were sort of doing their version of what they thought everybody else was doing, and it turned into reggae.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, all music copied each other somehow.

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The former Beatle tried to make a reggae song

George added that he wanted one of his songs, “Crackerbox Palace” to sound like a reggae song.

“Well, I’ve tried a couple of times–I must say, not too serious–but I’ve tried to make a tune into like a reggae feel–‘Crackerbox Palace.’ But like I say, it’s harder than it appears, you know?

“And the one thing I like about it is the drum sound they always get, like the high [vocalizes timbale-like fill] ta-tang-tang! The toms-toms… fantastic.”

A lot of music inspired George, not just rock ‘n’ roll. He loved legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar, rock ‘n’ roll legends like Carl Perkins, and even reggae stars like Marley. Too bad George didn’t go to speak with Marley backstage after being mezmerized by his performance. Can you imagine what a collaboration between the pair would’ve sounded like?

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