16. Jacob Miller was a star in Jamaica of similar magnitude as Bob Marley
Rastafarian and reggae star Jacob Miller was all but unknown in the United States over the course of his career, other than to fans of the style of music known as reggae, first popularized in America by Bob Marley and the Wailers. In Jamaica he was a popular performer and his services as a musician were in high demand. His band, Inner Circle, gained a level of fame by performing popular American tunes in reggae style, drawing the attention of, among others, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and blues guitarist Eric Clapton. Miller was a singer, and his humorous repartee between his fellow performers and members of his audience became a signature part of his appearances. By the late 1970s he had recorded albums released internationally by Capitol Records, and he appeared to be poised for greater recognition and success.
By the beginning of the 1980s Miller was known for both his often outrageous performance antics, which included smoking pot onstage while wearing a policeman’s hat, and exchanging humorous barbs with fellow reggae artists including Marley and Peter Tosh. In 1980 his career came to an abrupt end when he was killed in a car accident, along with his son, in Kingston, Jamaica on March 23, 1980. Miller had been in rehearsals for an upcoming American tour with his friend and sometime collaborator, Bob Marley, who would himself succumb to cancer less than a year later. A concert documentary film, Heartland Reggae, recorded in 1978, remains one of the defining artifacts of his short career.