Bob Marley was a singer, musician, and composer from Jamaica. Over the course of his career, he sold more than 20 million records and acted as a global ambassador for the genre of music known as reggae.
Who Is Bob Marley?
The Wailing Wailers were founded by Bob Marley and his close companions in 1963. The Wailers received a major break in the music industry in 1972 when they signed a recording contract with Island Records. Marley became the first international celebrity to emerge from what is commonly referred to as the “Third World” as he went on to sell more than 20 million recordings throughout his career.
Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. He is considered to this day to be one of the most revered performers in the reggae music genre. Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Jamaica. He was raised in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica, in a little town called Nine Miles by his mother, who was Black and just a teenager at the time, and his white father, who was much older and had long since abandoned the family.
Neville “Bunny” O’Riley Livingston was a buddy of his from when they were both young and living in St. Ann. Both were huge music fans and went to the same high school. Bunny sparked Marley’s interest in learning to play the guitar. According to the book Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley written by Christopher John Farley, later on, Livingston’s father and Marley’s mother became involved, and all three of them lived together in Kingston for a while.
When Bob Marley first arrived in Kingston in the late 1950s, he settled in Trench Town, one of the city’s most impoverished areas. He had difficulty making ends meet but found motivation in the music around him. Trench Town was known as the “Motown of Jamaica” due to the quantity of successful local performers that called the neighborhood home. Additionally, sounds from the United States could be heard from the radio and jukeboxes in the area. Marley was a fan of musicians like Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, and the Drifters, amongst others.
Music occupied a significant portion of both Marley and Livingston’s lives. Marley worked hard to improve his singing ability under the direction of Joe Higgs. He became acquainted with another student of Higgs’s named Peter McIntosh, who would later become known as Peter Tosh and play a significant part in the career of Bob Marley.
Marley’s singing caught the attention of a local record producer named Leslie Kong, who encouraged him to record a few songs. The first, titled “Judge Not,” was issued in 1962. Marley did not fare well as a solo performer, but when he joined forces with his pals, he could find some success. Wailing Wailers were initially created in 1963 by Bob Marley, Bob Livingston, and Donald McIntosh. In January 1964, their first song, “Simmer Down,” was released, quickly rising to Jamaica’s top of the charts. At this point, Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith were also active participants in the group.
The band achieved widespread success in Jamaica, although they struggled to make ends meet during their career there. The departure of Braithewaite, Kelso, and Smith from the group is noted. The remaining members became increasingly distant from one another over time. Marley traveled to the United States to be with his mother, who had relocated there. On February 10, 1966, however, he tied the knot with Rita Anderson only days before he left.
Marley eventually got back to Jamaica after an absence of eight months. To establish the Wailers, he got back together with Livingston and McIntosh. Marley was investigating his spiritual side and acquiring a significant interest in the Rastafarian movement. Rastafari is a theological and political movement that originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. The Rastafarians took their views from a variety of sources, including the Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Old Testament, as well as their African background and culture.
In the late 1960s, Marley collaborated with the popular vocalist Johnny Nash for a while. The song “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley was a huge success for Nash worldwide. The Wailers also collaborated with the record producer Lee Perry during this period. Some of the hits that they created together during this period include “Trench Town Rock,” “Soul Rebel,” and “Four Hundred Years.”
1970 saw the addition of two new members to The Wailers’ lineup in the form of bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton “Carlie” Barrett. The year after that, Marley and Johnny Nash collaborated on the score for a film that was being shot in Sweden.
The Wailers were given a tremendous opportunity in 1972 when they signed a recording contract with Island Records, which Chris Blackwell had established. The band went into the studio for the first time to record an entire album. Catch a Fire, a film that received high praise from critics was the end outcome. In 1973, the Wailers went on tour in Great Britain and the United States to promote their album and served as the opening act for both Bruce Springsteen and Sly & the Family Stone during their respective runs. The band released their second album, titled Burnin’, in the same year, featuring the smash hit song “I Shot the Sheriff.” In 1974, legendary rock guitarist Eric Clapton issued a cover of the song, and it went on to become a number-one success in the United States.
McIntosh and Livingston pursued solo careers as Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, respectively. They departed the group before their second album, which was titled Natty Dread and was released in 1975. The trio had been together since the early 1970s. Some political conflicts in Jamaica between the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party were mirrored in the lyrics of Natty Dread. As a result of these disagreements, violence would occasionally occur. “Rebel Music (3 O’clock Road Block)” was inspired by Marley’s experience of being stopped by army members late one night before the 1972 national elections. “Revolution” was interpreted by many as Marley’s endorsement of the PNP. “Rebel Music (3 O’clock Road Block)” was inspired by Marley’s experience of being stopped by army members late one night before the 1972 national elections.
I-Threes was a female ensemble comprising members such as Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, and Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s wife. The Wailers performed alongside I-Threes during their subsequent tour. The band, who later became known as Bob Marley & The Wailers, went on some tours and contributed to the growth of reggae’s appeal in other countries. With the song “No Woman, No Cry,” they achieved their first Top 40 hit in Britain in 1975.
Marley was on his way to becoming an iconic figure in music worldwide, even though he was already a huge sensation in his home country of Jamaica. In 1976, he released an album called Rastaman Vibration that became successful and charted in the United States. One song in particular, titled “War,” stands out as a representation of his commitment to his religion and goal of bringing about political change. The lyrics of the song were derived from a speech given by Haile Selassie, an Ethiopian emperor who ruled throughout the 20th century and is regarded as a form of a spiritual leader by members of the Rastafarian movement. The song is a rallying cry for liberation from oppression, and it talks about a new Africa that does not have the racial hierarchy established by colonial control.
Politics and Assassination Attempt
When Bob Marley returned to Jamaica, he was still considered a supporter of the People’s National Party. In addition, the PNP’s competitors viewed his influence in his own country as a potential danger. This may have contributed to the attempt to kill Bob Marley in 1976. On the evening of December 3, 1976, a group of armed assailants ambushed Bob Marley and the Wailers while they were practicing for a concert scheduled to take place in the National Heroes Park in Kingston two days later. Two bullets injured Bob Marley: one in the sternum and the other in the bicep; his wife, Rita, was struck in the head by the third bullet. It was fortunate that none of the Marleys had serious injuries, but manager Don Taylor did not fare as well. Taylor, who was shot five times, required surgery to be saved from his injuries. Marley decided to continue performing at the show after much debate and despite the attack. Marley left the nation the day after the event; thus, the motive for the attack was never discovered, and authorities could not track him down.
Marley began work on the album Exodus in London, England, in 1977, and it was eventually released the same year. The song’s title parallels the biblical tale of Moses leading the Israelites out of exile and his own life at the time of the song’s writing. In addition, the subject of returning to Africa is touched on. The idea of Africans and people whose ancestors originated in Africa returning to their ancestral lands can be traced back to Garvey’s work. The song “Exodus” was a hit in Britain when it was released as a single, as were the songs “Waiting in Vain” and “Jamming,” and the album as a whole remained on the charts in the United Kingdom for more than a year. Today, Exodus is widely regarded as one of the best albums that have ever been produced.
In 1977, Marley experienced a frightening health scare. In July of that year, he went to get treatment for a toe injury that he had sustained earlier that year. Following discovering malignant cells in his toe, the medical staff recommended that he have it amputated. Marley, on the other hand, did not go through with the operation because his religious convictions barred him from having an amputation.
Marley and the Wailers recorded tracks that would be included on the album Kaya while they were still working on Exodus (1978). Both “Satisfy My Soul” and “Is This Love” became huge singles from the album, which was centered around the concept of love. Also in 1978, Bob Marley returned to Jamaica to give a performance known as the “One Love Peace Concert.” During this concert, he successfully got Prime Minister Michael Manley of the People’s National Party and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labor Party to shake hands on stage.
Marley took his first trip to Africa that same year, during which he traveled to Kenya and Ethiopia. Marley placed a particular emphasis on Ethiopia during this tour because Rastafarians consider it to be their spiritual homeland. His subsequent album, Survival (1979), was interpreted as a cry for greater unity and an end to oppression on the African continent. It is possible that his trips influenced him to write this album. Bob Marley and The Wailers provided musical entertainment at the new nation of Zimbabwe’s official independence ceremony in 1980.
Uprising (1980), which featured the singles “Could You Be Loved” and “Redemption Song,” was a smash hit all over the world. The stripped-down version of “Redemption Song,” which had a folk-like sound, was an example of Bob Marley’s abilities as a songwriter and was famous for its poetic lyrics and social and political significance. One of the lines in the song is as follows: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our brains.”
Bob Marley and the Wailers embarked on a tour to promote their album and toured throughout Europe, where they performed in front of massive audiences. They also intended to play some concerts in the United States; however, they could only perform three shows before Marley fell ill. Two of these performances were scheduled to occur at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, while the other was at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Initially identified, cancer in his toe had spread to other parts of his body.
Death and Memorial
Marley beat cancer for several months after undergoing an alternative treatment in Germany, which he received after traveling to Europe. Marley’s prognosis was not good, and it was soon apparent that he didn’t have much longer to live; despite this, the musician decided to make one final trip back to his home Jamaica. Sadly, he would not be able to make it to the end of the journey as he passed away on May 11, 1981, in Miami, Florida.
Marley was honored with Jamaica’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit, by the Jamaican government not long before he passed away. In addition, the United Nations presented him with their Medal of Peace in 1980. Marley was honored and celebrated as a hero by the Jamaican people before his passing. During the memorial service for the musician, held at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica, more than 30,000 people paid their respects to the departed artist. Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt performed at the celebration, and the Wailers performed.
Marley was the first international superstar to emerge from what is now known as the so-called Third World. He was successful in some areas during his lifetime, including serving as a global ambassador for reggae music, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and selling more than 20 million records. These accomplishments made him the first person to hold this distinction.
Even after more than three decades since his death, Marley’s music continues to receive widespread appreciation. Rita Marley continues to perform with the I-Threes, the Wailers, and some of the Marley children, carrying on the musical legacy that Bob Marley left behind, which has also been carried on by his family and lifelong comrades. (Marley is said to have fathered nine children; however, different sources cite different numbers.) Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, which later became known simply as the Melody Makers, were Ziggy Marley’s sons David “Ziggy” and Stephen, as well as his daughters Cedella and Sharon (who was Rita’s daughter from a previous relationship and was adopted by Marley). They played together for many years. (Both Ziggy and Stephen have enjoyed success on their own as well.) Damian “Gong Jr.,” Ky-Mani, and Julian, three of Gong’s sons, are also outstanding recording artists in their own right. Other Marley children are active participants in family-run enterprises, one of which being the record company known as Tuff Gong, which Bob Marley established in the middle of the 1960s.
Primary Wave Music Publishing is well known for its branding and marketing initiatives for “the icons and legends business.” In January 2018, the founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell, sold most of his rights to Bob Marley’s library to Primary Wave Music Publishing. Larry Mestel, the founder of Primary Wave, was once quoted as saying, “There isn’t a corner of the planet where Bob Marley isn’t a god.”
The Bob Marley Foundation is an organization that was established in his memory by the Marley family. Its mission is to assist people and organizations located in countries that are still in the process of developing. Marley’s dedication to the fight against oppression lives on through this foundation.
who’s bob marley, bob marley, bob marleys, bob marley song, bob marley death, bob marley’s death, death of bob marley, bob marley sons, when did bob marley died, when did bob marley die, birthday of bob marley