Few musicians remained beloved and admired like the icon Bob Marley. He was a Jamaican singer,
musician, songwriter and one of the most well known figure in out nation’s history. Just to touch up
on a few important facts about Bob and his path to success. Marley served as a world representative
for reggae music and sold more than 20 million records throughout his career which makes him
the first international superstar to emerge from the “Third World.” He is also one of the most famous
branded faces of all time but Bob Marley did not die to become just a tank top you can buy at urban
outfitters or spencer’s. He established a reggae beat that conquered the world and left an impact
that will never be forgotten.
Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. In 1963, Marley and his
friends formed the Wailing Wailers. The Wailers’ big break came in 1972, when tey landed a contract
with Island Records.. Bob Marley started his career with the Wailers, a group he formed with Peter
Tosh and Bunny Livingston in 1963. Marley married Rita Marley in February 1966, and it was she
who introduced him to Rastafarianism. By 1969 Bob, Tosh and Livingston had fully embraced
Rastafarianism, which greatly influence Marley’s music in particular and on reggae music in general.
The Wailers collaborated with Lee Scratch Perry, resulting in some of the Wailers’ finest tracks like
“Soul Rebel”, “Duppy Conquerer”, “400 Years” and “Small Axe.” This collaboration ended bitterly
when the Wailers found that Perry, thinking the records were his, sold them in England without their
consent. However, this brought the Wailers’ music to the attention of Chris Blackwell the owner of
Island Records. Blackwell immediately signed the Wailers and produced their first album, “Catch a Fire”.
This was followed by “Burnin'”, featuring tracks as “Get Up Stand Up” and “I Shot the Sheriff.” Not to
mention, “Burnin” made number 35 on the rolling stones all time greatest albums. In 1974 Tosh and
Livingston left the Wailers to start solo careers. Marley later formed the band “Bob Marley and the
Wailers”, with his wife Rita as one of three backup singers called the I-Trees. Tese three released
some groundbreaking albums, such as “Natty Dread”, “Rastaman Vibration”. In 1976, during a period
of spiraling political violence in Jamaica, an attempt was made on Marley’s life. Marley left for England,
where he lived in self-exile for two years. In England “Exodus” was produced, and it remained on the
British charts for 56 straight weeks. This was followed by another successful album, “Kaya.” These
successes introduced reggae music to the western world for the first time, and established the
beginning of Marley’s international status. In 1977 Marley consulted with a doctor when a wound in
his big toe would not heal. More tests revealed malignant melanoma. He refused to have his toe
amputated as his doctors recommended, claiming it contradicted his Rastafarian beliefs. Others,
however, claim that the main reason behind his refusal was the possible negative impact on his dancing skills.
The cancer was kept secret from the general public while Bob continued working. Returning to Jamaica in
1978, he continued work and released “Survival” in 1979 which was followed by a successful European
tour. In 1980 he was the only foreign artist to participated in the independence ceremony of Zimbabwe. It
was a time of great success for Marley, and he started an American tour to reach blacks in the US.
He played two shows at Madison Square Garden, but collapsed while jogging in NYC’s Central
Park on September 21, 1980. The cancer diagnosed earlier had spread to his brain, lungs and stomach.
Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on May 11, 1981. He was 36 years old. Shortly before his death,
Marley had received the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government. He had also been awarded
the Medal of Peace from the United Nations in 1980. Bob was adored by so many people of Jamaica
more than 30,000 people paid their respects to the musician during his memorial service, held at
the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt sang and the Wailers
performed at the ceremony.
During Marley’s career, he achieved several great accomplishments in his lifetime, including earning an
induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 1994. Fans have been asked to describe Marley’s
performance on stage and they claimed it as a “spirtitual influence.” Bob was so into his music and
represented nothing but peace, and love. Decades after his passing, Marley’s music remains widely
acclaimed. His musical legacy has also continued through his family and longtime bandmates Rita
continues to perform with the I-Threes, the Wailers and some of the Marley children.
Bob Marley reportedly fathered nine children, though reports vary. Marley’s sons, David “Ziggy”, Stephen
and daughters Cedella and Sharon played for years as Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, later
performing as the Melody Makers. It is great to know that his children have made efforts to carry
out their father’s musical blessing.. Bob Marley will forever be a musical inspiration for all upcoming artists
and his legacy lives on.