Bob Marley and the Mafia

Reggae icon, Bob Marley, apparently feared for his life during his 1980 shows at Madison Square Garden, NY. So much so that he sought Mob protection from the Gambino family.

Bob Marley

According to respected Bob Marley archivist, Roger Steffens, Marley was taken by his manager at the time, Danny Sims, to a meeting with top Gambino capo, Joe Armone. The meeting was reputedly held at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan, in September, 1980. Sims, who had known Marley since the 1960s, said the singer wanted protection as he was afraid of being ambushed by Jamaican hit squads. He had already been the subject of an attempted assassination once, a few years previously whilst in Jamaica – and still had the bullet in his arm as a reminder. Marley had been receiving further death threats but their source was unknown.

A deal was allegedly struck between Bob Marley and Joe ‘Piney’ Armone, and manager, Danny Sims, said that there was a Gambino ‘presence’ during his New York shows.

Joe ‘Piney’ Armone

Bob Marley died from skin cancer the following year at the age of 36. Danny Sims died from cancer in October 2012. Joe Armone died in prison in 1992.

Source: So Much Things To Say: the Oral History of Bob Marley by Roger Steffens (2017)

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