The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond

Gallery. Jun. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781982172695. $28.99. MUSIC
Readers will know they’re in for a rollicking, fun, and vertigo-inducing wild ride of a memoir when by page seven, the author at age eighteen is getting punched out by Errol Flynn for attempting to steal one of his girlfriends. So begins octogenarian Blackwell’s long awaited life story. Founder of seminal record label Island Records, he signed Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Grace Jones, Traffic, Roxy Music, Sparks, the B-52s, U2, and numerous other celebrated recording artists. Blackwell is also widely regarded as the primary catalyst for introducing reggae music to a world audience. “Rhythm to me was always king, and in reggae it is at the front of everything,” he writes. Blackwell wends his way chronologically through his colorful story devoting separate decade chapters from the fifties through the nineties. Impresario and raconteur that he is, the cornucopia of stories and anecdotes of rock stars in the popular music firmament is an embarrassment of riches that alone is worth the price of admission. Of special note is the extended story of his transformational relationship with Bob Marley and the Wailers.
VERDICT An obligatory purchase for all self-respecting rock and pop culture collections.
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