It was 29 years ago today when I was a young DJ in Salem, Oregon. One of my jobs was to ‘rip-n-read’ the news, so I was regularly heading to the news room to see the latest, and include the pertinent stories on the air.
On that day, May 11, 1981, the news came over that Bob Marley had died of cancer. He was in Miami, on his way home from alternative treatment in Europe. He didn’t make it alive.
As Music Director, my main job was to handle the music playlist for the Top 4o AM station. I was a big Bob Marley fan, but it was hard at that time to justify playing any of his music on the air. No one in the world of TOP 4o knew who he was. Yes, some folks knew he wrote “I Shot the Sheriff” which had been a Number One Hit for Eric Clapton in ’74. And he had written “Stir It Up,” which Johnny Nash tossed up the charts in the mid 70s.
But his recordings had a hard time getting a toehold on ‘traditional’ music radio. The one minor exception was “Roots, Rock, Reggae” which made it up to #51 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1976. And yes, as a Music Director I played it. Mixed it right in with Wings’ ‘Silly Love Songs,’ Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’ and Dorothy Moore’s ‘Misty Blue’ among others. Hell, I thought it fit just fine. But when it faded a few short weeks after debuting, I couldn’t justify keeping it around so I dropped it out of rotation. Except in my living room of course.
So how could Bob Marley make an impact on your life? On your tradeshow marketing? Think it’s a stretch? It depends on how you apply it.
In reading about Bob’s life, one thing sticks out: his unceasing devotion to his path. He knew from the age of seven that he would be a singer. He never let anything derail him. No doubt there were many chances to choose to do something else, but he never wavered.
So that’s one thing: figure out your tradeshow marketing goal – and stick to it. Don’t let anything keep you from your objective.
Another piece of Bob’s life I truly appreciated was his dedication to his craft. He gave his audience his best. Always. There are stories of when he was in the recording studio, he’d stay late nights for hours and do take after take on a vocal track to get the right one.
When Bob Marley and the Wailers toured, he was always the first off the bus to rehearsal, and the first back on the bus after the show.
So: devotion, dedication and takin’ care of business. Good things to keep in mind for any endeavor.
When you get to his music, you run across lyrics and songs that lift and inspire:
“Could You Be Loved” – are your visitors looking for a little love from your business? Treat ’em nice!
“Get Up, Stand Up” – stand up for your visitors’ rights! Again, treat ’em nice.
“Positive Vibration” – one of Bob’s best known uplifting songs:
If you get down and quarrel everyday
You’re saying prayers to the devil, I say
Why not help one another on the way
Make it much easier
And of course you could tie in many other song titles to tradeshow situations (make up your own situation for the following…)
“Keep on Moving”
and my fave:
“Slave Driver”…ever had one of those bosses?
Okay, all in fun…but definitely some inspiration here. Put on some Bob Marley next time you’re doing prep for your upcoming tradeshow – and see if you can get a little inspiration, Jamaica-style.