Long-lost audio recordings of the most iconic name in reggae are set to hit the auction block, and the performances were recorded using a mobile studio that has found a home at Studio Bell.

Some of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ live performances in London and Paris from the 1970s were recorded to tape using the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio.

“This truck was available for hire,” explained Jason Tawkin, manager of building audio at Studio Bell. “It was owned by the Rolling Stones but it was also a side business for them. They had invested a significant amount of money into it and they wanted a return on that investment.”

The recordings were thought lost to time until, nearly four decades later, they surfaced in the basement of a hotel in northwest London. The tapes were water-damaged, covered in a resin seepage, and marked ‘damaged-do not play’, but efforts to restore the recordings were successful.

Tawkin says there’s folklore surrounding both lost and unearthed tapes. “There’s lots of stories in the industry of tapes being lost. I know of one story where Jimi Hendrix left one of the master tapes in a cab in New York City. Where that tape is now? No one knows. These things just fall off the back of the truck, if you will, and the cool thing about tape is that when you do recover it, there’s usually a way to recover the content that’s within those tapes because of the technology.”

The recordings, known as The Lost Masters, will be available for sale online through a UK auction house beginning Tuesday, May 21, 2019 and are being sold as three collections; Live at the Lyceum – July 1975, Live at the Rainbow – June 1977, and Live at Paris Pavilion de Paris – July 1978. Each of the auction lots have a starting bid of £10,000 (approximately $17,500).

Music lovers looking for a less costly way to explore music history can arrange to tour the Rolling Stones’ mobile studio at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre.  The studio was constructed in 1968, acquired by the National Music Centre in 2001, and, following a restoration effort, continues to record performances.

With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe