History of reggae icon Bob Marley

He fought against oppression in the hope of gaining freedom for himself and his followers and was considered a symbol of freedom throughout the world...

Biography of Bob Marley: from early years to success and death

In life Bob Marley achieved international fame with a series of reggae albums. He began his career in 1963 year as a member The Wailers, however, over the years, Marley developed his own style, which later resonated with the global public. The culmination of his career was the release of the album Exodus in 1977, establishing his worldwide reputation. He was a committed Rastafarian who infused his music with a deep sense of spirituality. Unfortunately, in 1981 reggae icon was gone.

Early years

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Bob Marley

Robert Nesta Marley (real name of the musician) was born at Nine Miles in Jamaica. His father Norval Marley was a white Jamaican of British descent whose family originated in Essex, England. A captain in the Royal Marines and also a plantation keeper, he married Cedelle Bookerwhen she was only 18 years old. And although Norval helped his wife and son financially, he often traveled around, because of which Bob practically did not see his father in childhood ... In the middle 50s Norval died of a heart attack at the age of 60.

In the end 50s Marley and her mother moved to Trench Town, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kingston. The boy grew up in poverty, but drew inspiration from the music that surrounded him: in Trench Town there were many successful local performers, causing the area to often be referred to as "Jamaican Hollywood". Melodies from USA were also well known to Marley through radios and jukeboxes. In those years, the future artist was especially fond of creativity. Ray Charles, Elvis Presley and Fats Domino.

Early career and success with The Wailers

Bob Marley and The Wailers Legend
Bob Marley and The Wailers Legend

At 14 Marley dropped out of school and started making music with Joe Higgis, a local singer and a devout Rastafarian. At a jam session with him, Marley met Peter Tosh and Bunny Weiler. Robert worked as a welder, but devoted all his free time to improving his musical skills and vocals. As a result, the producer noticed him Leslie Kong, thanks to which the guy recorded his first singles, including "Judge Not.". And although he did not succeed as a solo artist, success hit Marley in The Wailers, formed together with Tosh and Wailer! Their debut single "Simmer Down" got to the first line of the Jamaican charts, and by this time 3 more people had joined the group! But despite the success The Wailers experienced severe funding difficulties.

When three members left the lineup, Tosh, Weiler and Marley dispersed. The last one went to USA to mother. Around the same time, he married Rita Anderson, with whom he remained married until the end of his days ...

Rastafarianism and the re-creation of the group

The Wailers
The Wailers

From childhood, Marley was brought up as a Catholic, but in 60s he was seriously fascinated by Rastafarianism. Returning to his homeland, he officially converted to a religious movement and began to grow dreadlocks. Soon he decided to give The Wailers a second wind. His friends also adopted Rastafarianism, which significantly affected the band's music.

The Wailers
The Wailers

The Wailers collaborated with Lee Perry, resulting in some of their best tracks, including "Soul Rebel", "Duppy Conquerer", "400 Years" and "Small Axe". Unfortunately, their collaboration ended on a sad note when the Wailers discovered that Perry, thinking the records were his, had sold them in England without their consent. However, this brought the group to the attention of Chris Blackwell, owner Island Records.

The Wailers were signed by Blackwell, and soon the album was released Catch a Fire. He was followed Burnin, which included the composition "I Shot the Sheriff.". The end for the band came in 1974 when Tosh and Weiler decided to go solo and left the line-up...

Way forward

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Bob Marley

marley shaped Bob Marley and the Wailers with his wife Rita as one of the three backing vocalists. Several revolutionary albums were released during this period, such as Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration. Marley made his international breakthrough in 1975 with a hit "No Woman, No Cry", which was a great success with the British public. This was followed by a breakthrough in the States Rastaman Vibration.


Bob Marley at the Crystal Palace. Photo: David Corio
Bob Marley at the Crystal Palace. Photo: David Corio

In many of his songs, including "Babylon System" and "Blackman Redemption", Marley sang about the struggle of blacks and Africans against oppression. He introduced a new concept to the term "singer". Philosophy Marley was that everyone has the right to freedom and that "you must fight against the system" in order to achieve freedom. While on stage, he talked about things that mattered to him and interacted with the audience.

His energetic live performances engaged the audience, making people sing along and dance. He fought against oppression in the hope of gaining freedom for himself and his followers and was considered a symbol of freedom throughout the world...

End of story

Bob Marley
Bob Marley

In 1977 Marley was diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma. Despite the illness, the singer continued touring and visited America, where he gave several concerts. at Madison Square Garden within the tour "Uprising". Shortly thereafter, his health deteriorated as the cancer spread throughout his body... The rest of the tour was canceled and Marley sought treatment at a Bavarian clinic, where he received controversial therapy based in part on avoiding certain foods, drinks and other substances.

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Bob Marley

After an unsuccessful battle with cancer for eight months, Marley boarded a plane and flew home to Jamaica.

When the cancer spread to the lungs and brain, the legend was gone. Bob Marley dies in hospital Cedars of Lebanon in Miami (now Miami University Hospital) in the morning May 11, 1981 aged 36 years. The last thing he said to his son was:

"Money cannot buy life."

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