The I-Threes: The Golden Voices Behind Bob Marley

RIT 2Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths

Music is like my passport and water I need daily when travelling. I can’t do without it because it gives me inspiration. It’s great to have musicians and players of instruments around us. Music fills the courts of heaven as heavenly beings praise our Lord and Creator. When God created the world, the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy, that’s what the Bible says at (Job 38:7)

Music fills the courts of heaven as heavenly beings praise our Lord and Creator. When God created the world, the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy, that’s what the Bible says at (Job 38:7)

You will know the I-THREES if you love music because they were highly talented musicians supporting Bob Marley as back vocals, in the history of Jamaican music. Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths, knew each other long before they became internationally known.

Marcia Griffiths was already a star before the group I-Threes were formed. Her duet recordings with Bob Andy, which included “Young, Gifted and Black,” had brought her international attention, when she invited Judy Mowatt, who had previously sung with ‘The Gaylettes,’ and Rita Anderson, to support her on a recording with Andy. This invitation brought the three women together.

In Jamaica, that time was ‘The Wailers’ formed in 1963, which was a vocal group consisting of Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Bunny Livingston, Bob Marley, Peter McIntosh, and Cherry Smith. Livingston later became Bunny Wailer and McIntosh simply Peter Tosh. In 1966, Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith left the group leaving the trio of Livingston, Marley, and McIntosh.

Shortly after the departure of McIntosh and Livingston from the group, Bob Marley asked the three women to sing on his recording, Jah Live. They continued to sing for Bob Marley as back vocals for the next ten years. Later Bob Marley married Rita Andersen, whose original country of birth was Cuba. Surprisingly, both Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh became successful in their solo careers.

In early 1975, the I-Threes joined Marley for a tour as opening act for ‘The Jackson Five.’ The I-Threes continued to sing with Bob Marley until and after his death. But that wasn’t the end of the careers of the women, the three pursued a successful solo career.

RIT 4Bob Marley and the I-Threes performing

On May 26, 2009, the I-Threes performed with Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespear, the Compass Point All Stars and celebrated Island Records’ 50th-anniversary in London at Shepherd Bush Empire. The message of The I-Threes is one love, hope, peace and unity to all mankind.

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