Marley's manager dies in Florida after heart surgery
Balford Henry, Senior Staff Reporter
Taylor and wife, Sonia
DONALD DELROY TAYLOR (Don Taylor), former internationally known impresario and artiste manager who managed the career of the late reggae superstar Bob Marley during the mid to late 70s, died yesterday.
Taylor died in the Miami Heart Institute in Florida shortly after 9:00 a.m., days after heart surgery. He is survived by his widow, Sonia, and three children, two by his first wife, April.
Sources told The Gleaner that Taylor had discovered his heart problem some time ago but kept putting off the operation to get his affairs in order. He owned Don Taylor Enterprises, which offered various entertainment services. His situation worsened over the weekend after by-pass surgery on Sunday.
"I had the highest respect for him. He was someone who showed that he could rise above any adversity and most of all he was willing to share his knowledge," said Mike Henry MP and head of the defunct Kingston Publishers Limited which published Taylor's book,
"Marley And Me".
At the time of his death, Taylor was managing the career of veteran reggae singer Gregory Isaacs but his own career spanned about three decades and covered a number of huge black acts including the late Bob Marley. It was Taylor who convinced Marley he could survive on his own on the road after fellow Wailers, Bunny Wailer and the late Peter Tosh, refused to tour.
Taylor was eventually sacked by Marley. In 1992, during court proceedings in New York dealing with fraud relating to Marley's estate, Bob's widow, Rita, claimed Taylor was fired while touring the African nation of Gabon after he was alleged to have collected about US$20,000 which he didn't turn over to the reggae star.
However, it was Taylor who brought to the attention of the administrator of the estate that money was being diverted from the estate by fraudulent means after Marley's death, which restricted Mrs. Marley's rights to sign cheques on behalf of the estate.
Taylor and Marley's previous manager, Allan "Skill" Cole, each had a one-percent share in a British Virgin Island company owned by Marley.
Taylor claimed to have handled the careers of Kenneth "Baby-face" Edmonds, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Jazzy B and Shirley Murdoch at some time or the other. However, he first came to prominence in Jamaica in the early 1970s when he promoted a series of
shows featuring his then main act, Little Anthony and The Imperials, at the then Sheraton Hotel, New Kingston.
He was also very active in JAMPRO's "Sounds of Jamaica" programme to sell reggae internationally in 1997.
Two years ago, he announced plans to develop his new agency, Splashdown Music Group, which he had planned to make a subsidiary of BMG's Zoo Entertainment, with the help of Jerry Ade of the Famous booking agency in New York.
Like Marley, Taylor was also said to have been born in Jamaica to a British colonial gentleman and his Jamaican mistress. He was abandoned at an early age, then adopted by a woman he described only as "Aunt Daisy".
His early break came through working as a valet to major stars visiting Jamaica including Fats Domino and Sammy Davis, Jnr., which helped him to emigrate to the United States where he started his career as an artiste manager.