Bob Marley Biography
Nick Name: Donald Marley, Tuff Gong
Died At Age: 36
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Robert Nesta Marley, OM
Born Country: Jamaica
Born in: Nine Mile, Jamaica
Famous as: Singer-Songwriter
Spouse/Ex-: Alpharita Anderson Marley (m. 1966), Rita Marley
father: Norval Marley, Norval Sinclair Marley
mother: Cedella Booker, Cedella Marley-Booker
siblings: Anthony Booker, Constance Marley, Pearl Livingston, Richard Booker
place of death: University of Miami Hospital, Miami, Florida, United States
Cause of Death: Cancer
Founder/Co-Founder: Tuff Gong
Every time the word ‘reggae’ is mentioned, the name Bob Marley resounds in the minds of many. Starting his career as part of the band 'The Wailers,' this famous singer is known for his touching performances. ‘The Wailers,’ consisting of famous artistes, such as Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Junior Braithwaite among others, produced some of the finest albums of their time. They are still known for hits like 'Simmer Down,' 'Rude Boy,' as well as cult albums like 'Catch a Fire,’ and 'Soul Revolution.’ Once the band members went their own ways, Bob Marley found new artistes to collaborate with and continued releasing his albums under the name 'Bob Marley and The Wailers.’ His first album, under this name, was 'Live!' after which he went on to produce records like 'Rastaman Vibration,' 'Kaya,' 'Exodus,' and 'Babylon by Bus.' His album 'Rastaman Vibration' was a record-breaking one and solidified his reputation as a peace-loving humanitarian. This singer was known for his staunch faith in the 'Rastafari Movement,’ which was reflected in the tracks he produced. After his death, which was caused by malignant melanoma, this distinguished personality was showered with several prestigious honors, including the 'Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.’ Go on and explore more about his life and works.
- Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Mile, British Jamaica, to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Booker. At the time of Bob Marley’s birth, Norval was working as a supervisor at a plantation and Cedella was a singer-songwriter.
- A young Bob Marley pursued his education at the 'Stepney Primary and Junior High School,' located at the Saint Ann Parish in Jamaica. His father succumbed to a heart failure when Bob was just ten years old.
- In school, he had a friend named Neville Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer), whose father Thadeus had a daughter named Pearl with Bob's mother Cedella. The two boys began collaborating on music and soon formed a band along with their friends, Beverley Kelso, Junior Braithwaite, and Peter Tosh.
- It was in 1962 that Marley first released his singles, 'Do You Still Love Me?,' 'Judge Not,' 'Terror,' and 'One Cup of Coffee' with the help of recording artist Leslie Kong.
- The following year, the music band changed its name several times before settling on 'The Wailers.' It was initially named 'The Teenagers,’ then 'The Wailing Rudeboys,' and then 'The Wailing Wailers.' Coxsone Dodd, the owner of a record company, took notice of the band only after it was named 'The Wailers.'
- In 1963, ‘The Wailers’ produced their debut track 'Simmer Down' under Coxsone's banner. In 1965, the reggae band released their first album 'The Wailing Wailers,' which had the successful single, 'Rude Boy.'
- In 1966, however, lead artistes Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso left the band to pursue their solo careers.
- 'The Wailers' released their first international album 'Soul Rebels' in 1970, with the help of recording artist, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. The album was produced by 'Trojan Records' in the United Kingdom, and it became highly successful. It was later released by different music companies on several occasions.
- In 1971, the band released two popular albums, 'Soul Revolution' and 'The Best of the Wailers.' Ironically, the latter contained new tracks and was not a collection of the songs produced earlier.
- The next year, Marley signed a contract with London-based 'CBS Records' and collaborated with American musician Johnny Nash for a tour of UK. During the same time, they got acquainted with the owner of 'Island Records,' Chris Blackwell.
- In 1972, Blackwell proposed that 'The Wailers' release a new album and made an advance payment of £4,000. He also signed Marley on for his record company as a substitute for the famous reggae artiste, Jimmy Cliff.
- In 1973, 'The Wailers' released their next album 'Catch a Fire' for the label, 'Island Records.' It was moderately successful, with 14,000 copies being sold. The same year, the album 'Burnin' was produced, containing the hit track, 'I Shot the Sheriff.'
- In 1974, Bob's band was supposed to kick-start 17 concerts in the US, before other music groups took over. However, their popularity had grown to such an extent that their performance had to be stopped after the first four concerts.
- The same year, 'The Wailers' disbanded, but Marley continued to produce solo albums and singles under the name 'Bob Marley and The Wailers.' The famous singer released the solo album 'Natty Dread' in the year 1974, with popular singles like ‘No Cry’ and ‘No Woman.’
- In 1975, Bob recorded the album 'Live!' along with his new band members, Tyrone Downie, Al Anderson, Junior Marvin, as well as brothers Aston and Carlton Barrett. The following year, he also produced the album 'Rastaman Vibration,' with the hit single, 'War.'
- During 1977-78, Marley produced albums, such as 'Exodus,' 'Kaya,' and 'Babylon by Bus.' Around the same time, he made an appearance at the 'One Love Peace Concert' in Jamaica.
- In the next two years, Marley released the commercially successful album 'Survival,' which had heart-rending tracks like 'Africa Unite,' 'Zimbabwe,' and 'Wake Up and Live.' He also released the album 'Uprising,' which had famous singles like 'Redemption Song' and 'Forever Loving Jah.'
- During the same period, he performed at Boston's 'Amandla Festival' and at Pennsylvania's 'Stanley Theater.'
- Bob Marley is best known for his 1976 album 'Rastaman Vibration' which broke several records in the United States. The track 'War' from the same album became historically famous, owing to its strong condemnation of the practice of apartheid in South Africa. The song made it to the 'Billboard Soul Charts' as one of the top 50 numbers.
- In 1978, this celebrated Jamaican reggae artiste was presented with the 'United Nations' award titled 'Peace Medal of the Third World.' In 1981, he was honored with the 'Jamaican Order of Merit' by the Jamaican government.
- Posthumously, in the 2000s, he has received several honors, including the 'Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.' He has also been inducted into the 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' and the 'Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.' His band's album 'Catch a Fire' has also been included into the 'Grammy Hall of Fame.'
- In 1966, Bob Marley converted from Catholic to 'Rastafari' religious faith, inculcating the movement's rituals and culture into the reggae music he played. He also used marijuana and continued using it despite being arrested once for possession of the drug.
- Marley got married to Alpharita Constantia Anderson, commonly known as Rita, on February 10, 1966, in Kingston. The couple had three children, Cedella, Ziggy, and Stephen.
- Though he was married only to Rita, the singer had children from other relationships too. He also adopted the children Rita had borne from other affairs.
- In 1976, while on a free concert named ‘Smile Jamaica,’ which was organized by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley to dissolve warring political tensions, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were assaulted by gunmen in his house. His wife and manager sustained severe injuries, while Marley suffered minor wounds.
- In 1977, Marley was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a kind of incurable skin cancer. It took four years for the disease to spread, and his health deteriorated.
- The revered singer succumbed to his illness on May 11, 1981, at Miami's 'Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.' The funeral service, presided over by Prime Minister Edward Seaga, was held in Jamaica and Marley’s mortal remains were interred at a chapel in his hometown, Nine Mile.
- In 1983, a posthumous album titled 'Confrontation,' containing the single 'Buffalo Soldier' was released.
- Statues of this great singer have been erected at Kingston, Jamaica, as well as in the Banatski Sokolac village of Serbia.
- Many festivals are held all around India to commemorate this brilliant singer's works. In 2012, the movie 'Marley,' directed by Kevin Macdonald, was released.
- Eric Clapton re-recorded the song ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ in 1974, to make it the next song to become a hit after the single 'Layla.'
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