With dozens of greatest hits albums released since his death, it was thought that Bob Marley's back catalogue had been exhausted.

But a rundown former hotel in an unfashionable corner of north-west London has thrown up a treasure trove of previously lost recordings.

Thirteen reel-to-reel analogue master tapes - recordings which in some cases have only been heard on bootleg versions - have been discovered rotting in the building's damp basement.

They feature recordings of Bob Marley and the Wailers concerts in London and Paris between 1974 and 1978, when the singer was at the height of his powers. News of their discovery will cause excitement among the reggae superstar's fans.


The tapes were saved from the scrap heap when a member of a firm hired to clear the building in Kensal Rise alerted their friend and long-time Marley fan, Joe Gatt, to the find.

"I couldn't just stand by and let these objects, damaged or not, simply be destroyed so I asked him not to throw them away," Gatt said.

The recordings were passed to Gatt's business partner, Louis Hoover, himself a singer and a regular headliner at jazz venue Ronnie Scott's.

Hoover, said: "When I saw the labels and footnotes on the tapes, I could not believe my eyes, but then when I saw how severely water damaged they were, it was gut-wrenching. There was literally plasticised gunk oozing from every inch."

A music industry contact of Hoover pointed the partners in the direction of Martin Nichols, a sound technician specialist. Nichols, of White House Studios in Somerset then painstakingly restored the tapes, cleaning them over a year.

"I should've turned round and said 'no thank you'. They were covered in mould, looked really tatty and had clearly suffered a lot of water damage," Nichols said. "They should've been binned, but the end result really surprised me because they're now very high quality."

It is hoped the recordings will now be released in vinyl, CD and downloadable versions.