Stage set for 'War' as Allan 'Skill' Cole sues Universal, Island and Tuff Gong Records over Bob Marley songs

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allan-skill-cole-photo-1.jpgAllan 'Skill' Cole and Bob Marley shared a passion for football and music. Considered one of Jamaica's finest footballers, Cole was a key member of Marley's inner circle. They first met in 1969, with Cole acting as manager of Wailers, the group which included Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny 'Wailers' Livingston.

They wrote several of Marley's most popular songs, however, Cole, has been at odds with record companies over unpaid royalties for decades.


In a recent article, international website TMZ has written an article entitled: Bob Marley's Songwriter Goes to 'War' for Jah ... Bob's Label Stiffed Me, and uses court documents to back up this claim.

Cole's lawyers actually filed the suit on September 15.


"One of Bob Marley's BFFs is getting screwed out of money for 2 of the reggae star's iconic tracks ... according to the lawsuit he's filed to get cash for the heirs of rasta messiah Haile Selassie.

Allan Cole is suing Island, Universal and Tuff Gong music over the copyright on "War" and "Natty Dread." Cole was a Jamaican soccer star who reportedly managed Bob briefly, and says he co-wrote the songs in the '70s.

In the docs:

"Cole says he was promised a copyright credit, but only got props for co-writing the tracks. He says he noticed the mistake when he tried to transfer half his interest in "War" to the family of former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I. The lyrics for "War" are lifted almost verbatim from a famous speech by Selassie ... who Rastafarians worship as Jah Rastafari. Cole is suing for his share of the copyright, profits from the songs and lawyers fees," TMZ says in the online article.


In the ongoing saga the full list of songs include Zimbabwe, credited to Marley on his 1979 album, Survival, but actually written by Donald Leach; War, Johnny Was, Rat Race and Time Will Tell.

Cole is credited as writer of War, from Rastaman Vibration, Marley's 1976 album, and although he also co-wrote Johnny Was and Rat Race (also on Rastaman Vibration) and Time Will Tell (from 1978's Kaya) with Marley, his name does not appear in the composers bracket.The albums were distributed by Island.

"We an' Bob did have a different understanding... As Rasta wi neva deal wid certain thing," said Cole. "To us, a man word is him covenant," Cole is quoted as saying.

When Marley went solo in 1973, Cole became his road manager. He was the reggae star's road manager for his final tour in 1980, just months before Marley died from cancer in a Miami hospital in May 1981 at age 36.