Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Life and Work of Bob Marley - Happy Birthday

Nesta Robert MarleyOM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981), more widely and commonly known as Bob Marley, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the skarocksteady and reggaebands The Wailers (1963-1974) and Bob Marley & The Wailers (1974–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.[1]

Marley's music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his homeland, and he is considered to have given voice to the specific political and cultural nexus of Jamaica.[2] His best-known hits include "I Shot the Sheriff", "No Woman, No Cry", "Could You Be Loved", "Stir It Up", "Get Up Stand Up", "Jamming", "Redemption Song", "One Love" and, "Three Little Birds",[3] as well as the posthumous releases "Buffalo Soldier" and "Iron Lion Zion". The compilation album Legend (1984), released three years after his death, is reggae's best-selling album, going ten times Platinum which is also known as one Diamond in the U.S.,[4] and selling 25 million copies worldwide.[5][6]

Life and Career

Bob Marley was born in the village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann ParishJamaica as Nesta Robert Marley.[7] A Jamaican passport official would later swap his first and middle names.[8] He was of mixed race. His father, Norval Sinclair Marley, was a White English-Jamaican,[9] whose family came from Sussex, England. Norval claimed to have been a captain in the Royal Marines,[10] and was a plantation overseer, when he married Cedella Booker, an Afro-Jamaican then 18 years old.[11] Norval provided financial support for his wife and child, but seldom saw them, as he was often away on trips. In 1955, when Bob Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at age 70.[12] Marley faced questions about his own racial identity throughout his life. He once reflected:

"I don't have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't deh pon nobody's side. Me don't deh pon the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me deh pon God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white."[13]

Although Marley recognised his mixed ancestry, throughout his life and because of his beliefs, he self-identified as a black African, following the ideas of Pan-African leaders. Marley stated that his two biggest influences were the African-centeredMarcus Garvey and Haile Selassie. A central theme in Bob Marley's message was the repatriation of black people to Zion, which in his view was Ethiopia, or more generally, Africa.[14] In songs such as "Survival", "Babylon System", and "Blackman Redemption", Marley sings about the struggles of blacks and Africans against oppression from the West or "Babylon".[15]

Marley met Neville Livingston (later changed to Bunny Wailer) in Nine Mile because Bob's mother had a daughter with Bunny's father, younger sister to both of them and also had a relationship with him. Marley and Livingston started to play music while he was still at school. Then Marley left Nine Miles when he was 12 with his mother to Trench Town, Kingston. While in Trench Town, he met up with Livingston again and they started to make music with Joe Higgs, a local singer and devoutRastafari. At a jam session with Higgs and Livingston, Marley met Peter McIntosh (later known as Peter Tosh), who had similar musical ambitions.[16] In 1962, Marley recorded his first two singles, "Judge Not" and "One Cup of Coffee", with local music producer Leslie Kong. These songs, released on the Beverley's label under the pseudonym of Bobby Martell,[17] attracted little attention. The songs were later re-released on the box set Songs of Freedom, a posthumous collection of Marley's work.

Personal Life


Bob Marley was a member of the Rastafari movement, whose culture was a key element in the development of reggae. Bob Marley became an ardent proponent of Rastafari, taking their music out of the socially deprived areas of Jamaica and onto the international music scene. He once gave the following response, which was typical, to a question put to him during a recorded interview:

Interviewer: "Can you tell the people what it means being a Rastafarian?"
Bob: "I would say to the people, Be still, and know that His Imperial Majesty,      Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the Almighty. Now, the Bible seh so, Babylon newspaper seh so, and I and I the children seh so. Yunno? So I don't see how much more reveal our people want. Wha' dem want? a white God, well God come black. True true."[38]

Observant of the Rastafari practice Ital, a diet that shuns meat, Marley was a vegetarian.[39] According to his biographers, he affiliated with the Twelve Tribes Mansion. He was in the denomination known as "Tribe of Joseph", because he was born in February (each of the twelve sects being composed of members born in a different month). He signified this in his album liner notes, quoting the portion from Genesis that includes Jacob's blessing to his son Joseph. Marley was baptised by the Archbishop of theEthiopian Orthodox Church in Kingston, Jamaica, on 4 November 1980.[40][41]


Bob Marley had a number of children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita's previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children.

Those listed on the official site are:

1.    Sharon, born 23 November 1964, daughter of Rita from a previous relationship but then adopted by Marley after his marriage with Rita

2.    Cedella born 23 August 1967, to Rita

3.    David "Ziggy", born 17 October 1968, to Rita

4.    Stephen, born 20 April 1972, to Rita

5.    Robert "Robbie", born 16 May 1972, to Pat Williams

6.    Rohan, born 19 May 1972, to Janet Hunt

7.    Karen, born 1973 to Janet Bowen

8.    Stephanie, born 17 August 1974; according to Cedella Booker she was the daughter of Rita and a man called Ital with whom Rita had an affair; nonetheless she was acknowledged as Bob's daughter

9.    Julian, born 4 June 1975, to Lucy Pounder

10. Ky-Mani, born 26 February 1976, to Anita Belnavis

11. Damian, born 21 July 1978, to Cindy Breakspeare

Makeda was born on 30 May 1981, to Yvette Crichton, after Marley's death.[42] Meredith Dixon's book lists her as Marley's child, but she is not listed as such on the Bob Marley official website.

Various websites, for example,[43] also list Imani Carole, born 22 May 1963 to Cheryl Murray; but she does not appear on the official Bob Marley website.[42]


"Bob Marley was the Third World's first pop superstar. He was the man who introduced the world to the mystic power of reggae. He was a true rocker at heart, and as a songwriter, he brought the lyrical force of Bob Dylan, the personal charisma of John Lennon, and the essential vocal stylings of Smokey Robinson into one voice."

— Jann Wenner, at Marley's 1994 posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame[53]

In 1999 Time magazine chose Bob Marley & The Wailers' Exodus as the greatest album of the 20th century.[54] In 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a feature-length documentary about his life,Rebel Music, won various awards at the Grammys. With contributions from Rita, The Wailers, and Marley's lovers and children, it also tells much of the story in his own words.[55] A statue was inaugurated, next to the national stadium on Arthur Wint Drive in Kingston to commemorate him. In 2006, the State of New York renamed a portion of Church Avenue from Remsen Avenue to East 98th Street in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn "Bob Marley Boulevard".[56] In 2008, a statue of Marley was inaugurated in Banatski SokolacSerbia.[57]

Internationally, Marley's message also continues to reverberate amongst various indigenous communities. For instance, the Aboriginal people of Australia continue to burn a sacred flame to honor his memory in Sydney's Victoria Park, while members of the Native American Hopi and Havasupai tribe revere his work.[58] There are also many tributes to Bob Marley throughout India, including restaurants, hotels, and cultural festivals.[59][60]

Marley has also evolved into a global symbol, which has been endlessly merchandised through a variety of mediums. In light of this, author Dave Thompson in his book Reggae and Caribbean Music, laments what he perceives to be the commercialized pacification of Marley's more militant edge, stating:

"Bob Marley ranks among both the most popular and the most misunderstood figures in modern culture ... That the machine has utterly emasculated Marley is beyond doubt. Gone from the public record is the ghetto kid who dreamed of Che Guevara and the Black Panthers, and pinned their posters up in the Wailers Soul Shack record store; who believed in freedom; and the fighting which it necessitated, and dressed the part on an early album sleeve; whose heroes were James Brown and Muhammad Ali; whose God was Ras Tafari and whose sacrament was marijuana. Instead, the Bob Marley who surveys his kingdom today is smiling benevolence, a shining sun, a waving palm tree, and a string of hits which tumble out of polite radio like candy from a gumball machine. Of course it has assured his immortality. But it has also demeaned him beyond recognition. Bob Marley was worth far more."[61]


Awards and honors


2.     ^ "Bob Marley"Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
3.     ^ "Bob Marley". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006.
4.     ^ Miller, Doug (26 February 2007). "Concert Series: 'No Woman, No Cry'". Retrieved 3 October 2009.
5.     ^ Newcomb, Peter (25 October 2004). "Top Earners for 2004".Forbes: p. 9. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
6.     ^ "Rolling in the money". iAfrica. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
7.     ^ Moskowitz 2007, p. 1
8.     ^ Moskowitz 2007, p. 9
9.     ^ Ziggy Marley to adopt Judaism?, Observer Reporter, Thursday, 13 April 2006, Jamaica Observer
10.   ^ Bob Marley: the regret that haunted his life Tim Adams, The Observer, Sunday 8 April 2012
11.   ^ Moskowitz 2007, p. 2
12.   ^ Moskowitz 2007, p. 4
13.   ^ Webley, Bishop Derek (10 May 2008). "One world, one love, one Bob Marley"Birmingham Post. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
15.   ^ Middleton 2000, pp. 181–198
16.   ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Bob Marley – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 15 June 2008.
17.   ^ "The Beverley Label and Leslie Kong: Music Business". Archived from the original on 21 June 2006.
18.   ^ "The Wailers'Biography". Vital Spot. Archived from the originalon 1 December 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
19.   ^ White, Timothy (25 June 1981). "Bob Marley: 1945–1981".Rolling StoneJann Wenner. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009.
20.   ^ Moskowtz, David Vlado (2007). The Words and Music of Bob Marley. Westport, Connecticut. p. 16. ISBN 0-275-98935-6ISBN 978-0-275-98935-4.
21.   a b Bob Marley's London home on the Music Pilgrimages website.
22.   a b Muir, Hugh (27 October 2006). "Blue plaque marks flats that put Marley on road to fame"The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 7 September 2010.
23.   a b c McKinley, Jesse (19 December 2002). "Pre-reggae tape of Bob Marley is found and put on auction"The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
24.   a b c d e f Hagerman, Brent (February 2005). "Chris Blackwell: Savvy Svengali" Retrieved 29 December 2010.
25.   ^ [Quoted in the liner notes to 2001 reissue of Catch a Fire, written by Richard Williams]
26.   ^ "I Shot the Sheriff"Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. 9 December 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
27.   ^ "Bob Marley Biography". admin. 9 August 2010. Retrieved November 2010.
28.   ^ "Bob Marley Bio". Retrieved 3 October 2009.
29.   ^ Moskowitz 2007, pp. 71–73
30.   ^ "The shooting of a Wailer"Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. 13 January 1997. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
31.   ^ Walker, Jeff (1980) on the cover of Zap Pow's LP Reggae Rules. Los Angeles: Rhino Records.
32.   ^ "A Timeline of Bob Marley's Career". Retrieved 3 October 2009.
33.   ^ "One Love Peace Concert". 24 May 2002. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
34.   ^ White, Timothy (28 December 1978). "Babylon by Bus review".Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
35.   ^ Henke 2006, p. 61
36.   ^ Morris, Chris (16 October 1980). "Uprising review"Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
37.   ^ Schruers, Fred (1 September 1983). "Confrontation review".Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Archived from the original on 1 December 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
38.   ^ Davis, Steven, Bob Marley: the biography (1983) p. 115
39.   ^ "Bob Marley". The International Vegetarian Union. Retrieved 16 December 2009.
42.   a b Dixon, Meredith. "Lovers and Children of the Natural Mystic: The Story of Bob Marley, Women and their Children". The Dread Library. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
43.   ^ "Bob Marley's Children"Chelsea's Entertainment Reviews. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
44.   ^ "A Death by Skin Cancer? The Bob Marley Story"The Tribune. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2011.[dead link]
45.   ^ Slater, Russ (6 August 2010). "The Day Bob Marley Played Football in Brazil". Sounds and Colours. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
46.   ^ "His story: The life and legacy of Bob Marley". Retrieved 4 October 2009.
47.   ^ "Why Did Bob Marley Die – What Did Bob Marley Die From". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
48.   ^ "Bob Marley's funeral program". Retrieved 4 June 2010.
49.   ^ "30 Year Anniversary of Bob Marley's Death". Retrieved 11 May 2011.
50.   ^ Moskowitz 2007, p. 116
51.   ^ "Bob Marley". Find a Grave. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
52.   ^ Henke 2006, p. 58
53.   ^ Henke 2006, p. 4
54.   ^ "The Best Of The Century"Time (Time Inc.). 31 December 1999. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
55.   ^ "Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for Bob Marley". Caribbean Today. 31 January 2001. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
56.   ^ "Brooklyn Street Renamed Bob Marley Boulevard"NY1. 2 July 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
57.   ^ "n. Marinković, "Marli u Sokolcu"". Retrieved 31 October 2011.
58.   a b Henke 2006, p. 5
59.   ^ Singh, Sarina; Brown, Lindsay; Elliot, Mark; Harding, Paul; Hole, Abigail; Horton, Patrick (2009). Lonely Planet India. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet. p. 1061. ISBN 978-1-74179-151-8. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
60.   ^ "Bob Marley Cultural Fest 2010". Cochin Square. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
61.   ^ Reggae and Caribbean Music, by Dave Thompson, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 159
62.   ^ Winter Miller (17 February 2008). "Scorsese to make Marley documentary"Ireland On-Line. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
63.   ^ "Martin Scorsese Drops Out of Bob Marley Documentary". 22 May 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
64.   ^ Kevin Jagernauth (2 February 2011). "Kevin Macdonald Takes Over 'Marley' Doc From Jonathan Demme"indieWire. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
65.   ^ Miller, Winter (3 March 2008). "Weinstein Co. options Marley".Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved 3 March 2008.
66.   ^ Elaine Downs (23 June 2011). "Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011: Bob Marley – the Making of a Legend | News | Edinburgh | STV". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
67.   ^ Jeanna Bryner (10 July 2012). "Better than nothing? Bloodsucking parasite named after Bob Marley.". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
68.   ^ Rob Preece (13 July 2012). "Blood-sucking fish parasite named after Bob Marley as tribute | Mail Online". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
69.   ^ "No crustacean, no cry? Bob Marley gets his own species". Reuters. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
70.   ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty"Rolling Stone Issue 946. Jann Wenner.
71.   ^ "Who is the greatest lyricist of all time". BBC. 23 May 2001.

 Information originally posted on Wikipedia:


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