Bob Marley the True Rastafari


Bob Marley (Robert Nesta Marley) was born on 6 February 1945 in 
Nine Miles in the parish of St. Ann, Jamaica. His father (Norval 
Sinclair Marley) was a English marine-officer and his mother (Cedella 
'Ciddy'Malcom)was a native Jamaican who lived in Rhoden Hall. After 
Bob was born, his father left his mother.

 When Bob was five, his father took him to Kingston. Oneyear later 
Bob saw his mother again. A couple of years later Bob and his mother 
moved to Trench Town (West-Kingston) because his mother was looking 
for a job. Bob Marley loved the fast life in the big city, as well as 
the music of Fats Domino, Ray Charles he heard. Not much later Bob got 
his nickname Tuff Gong. Meanwhile Jamaican musicians were working on 
their own style of music. They invented ska and this music became very 
popular in Jamaica.

 At age 16 Bob wanted to record an album. Like other Jamaican kids 
he saw the music as an escape of the though reality. Jimmy Cliff, a 
local musician (only 14 years old), had already made a few (hit) 
singles and introduced Bob to producer Leslie Kong. Bob made his first 
single Judge Not in 1961, but this record and the next one One More 
Cup Of Coffee (1962) didn't do well. Bob left Kong after he hadn't 
received a paycheck of Lesly Kong.

 In 1964 Peter (McIn)Tosh, Bunny Livingstone (alias Bunny Wailer), 
Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry, Constantine 'Dream Vision' 
Walker and Bob Marley formed the band The Wailers. Cherry and Junior 
left the band after a few recording sessions. By the recording of 
their songs they used ska musicians of Coxsone Dodd's Studio One. Bob 
Marley acted as the leader of the band and he wrote most of the 
material. The Wailers became very popular in 1965: they played full 
houses. On the Coxsone-label they recorded several hits: Simmer Down, 
It Hurts To Be Alone, Rule Them Rudie.

 It was 10 February 1966 when Bob Marley married Rita Anderson. 
The day after, Bob went to the United States to visit his mother and 
her new husband. During Bob's stay in the States, Beverly Kelso left 
The Wailers and Rita and her cousin Dream joined the band. The Wailers 
changed their music from ska to rocksteady. The next year (the same 
year Bob's first child, Cedella, was born) the band left Coxsone and 
set up their own record label Wail 'N Soul 'M Record, also known as 
Wailing Souls, Wail 'M Soul 'M. Their first single from this label was 
Bend Down Low/Mellow Mood. At the end of that year, that same label 
was put an end to.

 In 1968 Bob's first son, David (better known as Ziggy) was born. 
That same year Bob met Jonny Nash. The Wailers recorded songs for the 
record company JAD Records. In 1970 The Upsetters joined The Wailers: 
Aston 'Family Man' Barret played bass and his brother Carlton played 
the drums. The band set up a new label Tuff Gong and the first single 
on that label was Run For Cover. It went uphill with the band and 
their own label. They made hit after hit.

 In December 1971 Bob went to Chris Blackwell of Island Records 
and he asked Chris if the band could get a record deal. Chris gave 
them 8,000 pounds (in advance) to make an album. It was a 
revolutionary move: for the first time a reggae band had access to the 
best recording facilities and they were treated in much the same way 
as, say, a rock group. Before The Wailers signed to Island it was 
considered that reggae sold only singles and cheap compilation albums. 
This way The Wailers made the first reggae-album Catch A Fire. The 
band makes successful tours through the U.K. and the States. The 
follow-up album was "Island was Burnin'" and it included some of the 
band's older songs together with tracks like "Get Up Stand Up" and "I 
Shot The Sheriff".

 The Wailers and Bob Marley became more popular after Eric Clapton 
recorded "I Shot The Sheriff". His version hit number one in the U.S. 
Singles Chart. With the release of Natty Dread the band lined up as 
Bob Marley & The Wailers. In the summer of 1975 the band were touring 
through Europe. Among the concerts were two shows at the Lyceum 
Ballroom in London. These two concerts are remembered as highlights of 
the decade. The shows were recorded on Live and it made the charts. 
The, on this album appearing, live-version of "No Woman No Cry" became 
a very big hit in the whole world. By that time Peter Tosh and Bunny 
Livingstone had officially left the band to pursue their own solo 
careers. Lead-guitar player Al Anderson and keyboard player Bernard 
'Touter' Harvey joined the band; these two guys were succeeded by 
Junior Marvin (1977) and Tyrone Downie.

 In the year 1976 the reggae-mania boomed in the States. Rolling 
Stone Magazine named Bob Marley & The Wailers 'Band of the year' in 
their February issue. Rastaman Vibration, cracked the American charts, 
but didn't do too well in The Netherlands. The album included a track 
called "War" of which the lyrics were taken from a speech by Emperor 
Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. On 3 December 1976 a tragedy happened. Six 
armed men shot at Bob Marley, his wife, the Wailers manager Don Taylor 
and Don Kinsey. Two days later Bob performed at the Smile Jamaica 
concert in Kingston, after which he flew to the U.K. The Wailers 
followed Bob and they recorded Exodus in 1977. With this album Bob 
Marley's international statusm of superstar was established. In the 
U.K. Bob Marley had an audience of prince royal Asfa Wossan 
(grandchild of Emperor Haile Selassie) at which Bob received a very 
important ring: Jah Rasafari (owned by the Ethiopian emperor). In May 
of the same year Bob found out that he had cancer. A toe had to be 
amputated, but Bob refused because that would have been against his 
beliefs of the Rastafari. On 20 July 1977 the remaining concerts of 
the Exodus Tour were canceled.

 The following year the band capitalized on their chart success 
with the release of Kaya, an album which hit number four in the UK 
Chart the week of release. The album showed Bob in a different mood: 
love songs and homage's to the power of ganja (marijuana). The 
rastafari smoke ganja to come closer to Jah (God). In April 1978 Bob 
Marley returned to Jamaica to perform on the One Love Peace Concert in 
front of the Prime Minister Michael Manley and Leader of the Opposite 
Edward Seaga. Bob arranged a meeting on stage between the two rivals. 
Later that year Bob got the Piece Medal of the Third World from the 
United Nations. He also visited Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe) 
for the first time in his life.

 Bob Marley & The Wailers continued their popular status with 
Babylon By Bus (registration of a concert in Paris) and Survival. At 
the end of the seventies Bob Marley & The Wailers were the most 
important band on the road and they broke the festival records on the 
European continent. Their new Uprising album entered every chart in 
Europe. The band was even planning a new American tour, with Stevie 
Wonder, for the winter of 1980. Bob's health went downhill but he had 
the doctor's approval to start the American tour, which started in 
Boston in September. During a concert in New York Bob Marley almost 
fainted. The next morning, on 21 September 1980, he went jogging with 
Skilly Cole in Central Park. Bob collapsed and was taken back to the 
hotel. Several days later it became clear that Bob had a brain tumor 
and he had, according to the doctors, not even a month to live. Rita 
Marley wanted the tour to be canceled, but Bob wanted to continue the 
tour. So he played a marvelous show in Pittsburgh. But Rita couldn't 
agree with Bob's decision to continue and on 23 September the tour was 

 Bob was transported from Miami to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering 
Cancer Center in New York. There, the doctor's diagnosed cancer in the 
brain, lung and stomach. Bob was transported back to Miami, were he 
was baptized Berhane Selassie in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (a 
Christian church) on 4 November 1980. Five days later, in a last 
attempt to save Bob's life, he flew to a controversial treatment 
center in Germany. In February 1981 Bob had his 36th anniversary in 
the German clinic. Three months later, on 11 May 1981, Bob died in a 
hospital in Miami.

 Bob Marley's funeral in Jamaica on 21 May 1981 could be compared 
with one of a king. Hundreds of thousands of people (including the 
Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition) visited the funeral 
to celebrate the fact that Bob Marley was a real 'Jah Rastafari' after 
all. After the funeral Bob Marley's body was taken to his birthplace 
were it rests in a mausoleum. The mausoleum became a real place of 
pilgrimage in the years after.

 A month before Bob's death, he was awarded Jamaica's Order Of 
Merit, the nation's third highest honor, in recognition of his 
outstanding contribution to the country's culture. The prophet Gad 
insisted (before Marley's death) to become the owner of the ring Jah 
Rasafari. The ring, however, disappeard miraculously and nobody has 
seen the ring again. Bob Marley's mother says that the ring went back 
to the place of origin.

 In Montego Bay, Jamaica, a Bob Marley (Performance) Center had 
been set up. For a couple of years the Sunsplash Festival has been 
held here.

 In the spring of 1983 the Confrontation album had been released. 
It contained unreleased songs, reshaped songs and songs that had only 
been released in Jamaica. The song Buffalo Soldier became a posthumous 
hit. In 1984 Legend was released. Thanks to the hit One Love/People 
Get Ready this beautiful album became a worldwide bestseller. Bob 
Marley & The Wailers were 'back to live'. After Bob Marley's death a 
special concert took place in Kingston to commemorate Bob Marley. 
Several artist, among which Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers and the 
Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra performed and raised money to establish 
a Bob Marley Entertainment Complex in Kingston.


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