Today is the great Robert Nesta Marley’s birthday, and many reggae lovers are in a celebratory mood about this special moment due to the legendary contributions of the man himself not only to the genre but the culture.
The Reggae singer was born in the year 1945 to parents, Norvel and Cedella who were married at the time and lived in Nine Miles, St. Ann on a farm owned by Bob’s Grandfather.
Marley’s father was a white man who worked as a Royal Marine captain and a plantation overseer and as a result, did not spend much time with his son growing up.
As a child, Bob attended Stepney Primary and Junior high school, where he learned to read and write.
As a young boy, Robert was already friends with Bunny Wailer, who’s father and Bob’s mother later had a daughter together.
Marley’s father passed away when he was 10 years old and right about the age of 12 he and his mother Cedella, moved to Trenchtown Kingston, to seek a different life.
On moving to Trenchtown the young Marley began to gain access to radio stations and started to listen to R&B music, which influenced himself, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and other young men at that time towards the direction of creating their musical group.
Then, the trio started to work with Joe Higgs who began to teach Bob Marley, and the others to play the guitar and get their vocal harmonies right.
In the year 1962, the group released 4 songs and in 1965, they released an album entitled “The Wailing Wailers”.
In total, the reggae legend released 11 albums as Bob Marley, and the Wailers out of which 4 were life and 7 prerecorded.
The career of the “Gong” saw him working with several producers ranging from Coxone Dodds who he started with, to Lee “Scratch” Perry, who claims he gave Marley reggae, to Island records who he recorded the majority of his work with.
His relationship with Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Records got much closer and Robert was gifted the Island House at 56 Hope Road by the businessman as an office and a home, however, in 1976 Bob was shot alongside his wife Rita at the location, 3 days before the Smile Jamaica concert, kept by Michael Manley and so the incident was said to be politically motivated.
After the shooting incident, the legend exiled himself to England for his safety from the political turmoil but eventually returned in 1978, for the One Love peace concert, that saw him unifying both political parties by bringing their leaders on stage to shake hands in the middle of his performance.
Even though Bob Marley was still performing and moving around, he had been diagnosed with a rare type of Melanoma since 1977 which proved fatal to him in the year 1981, after he was rushed to a Miami hospital for treatment.
His last words were to his son Ziggy, saying “Money Can’t buy life”. Alongside Ziggy, Bob Marley fathered 10 other children who continue to build on his legacy through music and business.