Acts such as Bob Marley recorded in the building
Dr Jak Beula (right), CEO of the Nubian Jak Community Trust, holding the blue plaque
A blue plaque has been unveiled at the former office and studios of Island Records in St. Peter’s Square .
A ceremony was held on Saturday 8 October marking 60 years since the seminal label moved to Hammersmith from Jamaica. It acknowledges the impact and influence that Island Records had in promoting Black music throughout the UK – building on its ground-breaking links from the Caribbean.
Members of the Brit-funk band Hi-Tension and The Effra Band provided the musical accompaniment, alongside four Year 6 pupils from Wendell Park primary school in Shepherd’s Bush who sang classic tunes from Bob Marley & The Wailers.
The event was organised by the Nubian Jak Community Trust along with Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Speakers on the day included H&F Mayor, Cllr Emma Apthorp, as well as Mark Marot, managing director of Island Records from 1982 to 2000, local architect Alex Lifschutz and British/Black music historian Kwaku.
Members of Brit-funk band Hi-Tension perform in St Peter’s Square
In 1973, number 22 in St Peter’s Square became the offices, recording studios and premises of Island Records, who moved in with 65 employees. The house became the administrative offices of the company, where the legal and finance staff worked.
The basement was converted into a small recording studio. It incorporated the base of the chimney which was occasionally used in recordings to add reverb to vocals – notably by Bob Marley during recording sessions for the iconic album, Exodus. Until the late 1990s, the building was in use around the clock, with recording sessions continuing late into the night.
During the Island years an air of improvisation and informality prevailed, the internal spaces of the buildings, undergoing frequent alterations in order to accommodate Island’s growing staff and changing needs.
One member of staff recalls, “It was a rabbit warren. I must have worked in a dozen different spaces in my time there.”
The building is now used as an office for the architectural firm, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Number 22 St Peter’s Square in Hammersmith is the former office and studios of Island Records
Dr Jak Beula, CEO of the Nubian Jak Community Trust said: “Island Records is arguably the most important label for the promotion of African and Caribbean music worldwide. So many of their artists became household names, and it is an honour to honour the label with a historic Nubian Jak blue plaque.”
Mark Marot (centre), managing director of Island Records from 1982 to 2000, holding the plaque
Cllr Sharon Holder, H&F Cabinet Member for Public Realm, said, “It was fantastic to see so many people come out and celebrate the fantastic legacy of Island Records in Hammersmith with us.
“We will continue to honour the remarkable people and places that have contributed so much to our shared history and culture. This is part of our efforts to shine a light on the remarkable Black heritage and cultural history of Hammersmith & Fulham.”
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October 15, 2022