Bob Marley's bass player launched a lawsuit in London's High Court today (March 16) against the late reggae legend's family and record label, claiming he and his drummer brother were the "bedrock" of

Bob Marley's bass player launched a lawsuit in London's High Court today (March 16) against the late reggae legend's family and record label, claiming he and his drummer brother were the "bedrock" of Marley's music.

Aston Barrett, known as "Family Man," has no fewer than 52 children and is now in his 60s. Along with his late brother Carlton Barrett, he was one of the long-serving members of Marley's band the Wailers.

Barrett's lawyers say Marley, who died in 1981, had promised members of the band equal shares of the royalties from hit albums like "Natty Dread," "Rastaman Vibration" and "Babylon by Bus." Barrett is suing for his and his brother's shares.

"Aston Barrett and his brother literally created the sound of the Wailers, though not for a minute to detract from the extraordinary songwriting ability of Mr. Marley," lawyer Stephen Bate told the court. "It was the Barretts' unique sound which brought the Wailers international success," he added. "The Barretts were the bedrock of the music."

Universal-Island Records Ltd. and the Marley family say Barrett surrendered his right to further royalties in a 1994 agreement, giving up all claims in return for a payment of several hundred thousand U.S. dollars.

The hearing, which is being attended by Marley's widow Rita, is scheduled to last three weeks.


COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.