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Bob Marley

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Bob Marley | Musician, Philosopher | “Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!” |

Taylor Townsend

Mrs. King

Education 1300

26 January 2013

Bob Marley

Bob Marley is considered one of the most influential people in history today. Marley was born on February 6, 1945 in Ann Parish, Jamaica. On May 11, 1981, Bob Marley died due to cancer which had spread from his toe that had been injured a few years before. In his life, he was a civil rights leader and sang about how he thought the world should be. He believed in equality, love, religion and the pursuit of happiness. Throughout most of Marley’s life, he lived in some of the poorest, most impoverished neighborhoods with his mother and his father, who had later left them and caused them to fend for themselves. Although living there was difficult, Marley found sanction through the music he heard around him. He learned most of his philosophies there that made him the man we know and respect today. While living there, he met a couple of friends; Neville “Bunny” O’Riley Livingston and Peter McIntosh, who would unknowingly help him change the world and their own lives as well. In the beginning of his singing career, Marley sang alone. After the first few songs, he realized going solo wasn’t doing so well, which gave him the idea to create a group with his old home friends and a few new acquaintances including Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith. Together they created the Wailing Wailers. They were quite famous in Jamaica, but didn’t make that much money, causing Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith to drop from the group. Since the group was breaking apart, Marley married Rita Anderson and they left with his mother to the United States of America. Marley didn’t stay there for long, only for about eight months, and then moved back to Jamaica. While he was there, he got back with Livingston and McIntosh to bring back the Wailers. At this point of time, Marley had been studying the Rastafarian movement and been searching through his spiritual side. The Rastafarian movement was a religious and political stand that was created in Jamaica and had its religious beliefs from more than one source, such as Jamaica’s own Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Old Testament, and including the African heritage and culture. With this movement, most of the songs the group performed were written along with the Rastafarian influence. During their music career, the group performed with multiple famous singers and groups such as Johnny Nash, Bruce Springsteen, Sly & the Family Stone and others. However, two of the original members left the group in 1975. McIntosh and Livingston wanted to make their own solo careers so they dropped out of the band and respectively went on to their own lives. The band’s music had changed to a more political stand point because of the tensions happening in Jamaica. Songs such as “Rebel Music” and “Revolution” showed how Marley supported the People’s National Party. The Wailers ended up joining with a group of women called the I-Threes, which included Marley’s wife Rita, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt. With the addition of the new members, they renamed the band Bob Marley and the Wailers. During this time, Marley was becoming known to the world. He was already adored by Jamaica and now he was making it on the charts in the United States. His songs were all about freedom, a new Africa, and no more racial segregation. Since Marley was in favor of the People’s National Party, those who opposed the People’s National Party also opposed Bob Marley. This is what many believe to be the reason why a group of gunmen tried to assassinate Marley on December 3rd, 1976 when he was rehearsing with the Wailers two days before a concert in Kingston’s National Heroes Park. More than one bullet was shot. Marley was struck in the sternum and the bicep and his wife Rita was hit in the head. Although their shots were minor, Marley’s manager’s was much worse. His manager, Don Taylor, was shot five times and had to be rushed to surgery in order to save his life. Even after the shooting, Marley and the Wailers still performed at the concert but left the next day to London. Marley decided to live in London but while he was there, in 1977, he was concerned about his health. Earlier that year, he had injured his toe and was looking for treatment in July. Doctors realized Marley had cancerous cells in his toe and tried to convince Marley to get the toe amputated. However, Marley couldn’t go through with the operation because his religious beliefs were against amputation. Marley kept creating sensational music and would fly back and forth to Jamaica, Africa, Europe and all over. The band was on a tour, but the tour had to be stopped when Marley became ill. The cancer from his toe had spread throughout his body. When he went to Europe, he went into treatment in Germany. He had been strong and fought off the cancer for many months, but the doctors knew he wouldn’t last much longer. Marley attempted to fly back to Jamaica but couldn’t stay alive until then. He had died in Miami, Florida on May 11th, 1981. Before his death, he was given the Order of Merit from his home country, Jamaica and was also awarded the Medal of Peace by the United Nations. At his funeral, he was sent off as a hero; over 30,000 people paid their respects when his body was lying at the National Arena while the Wailers performed. In 1994, Marley became part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In his lifetime, Marley had made reggae music known to the world and became the first international star to come from a third-world country, with selling over 20 million records. Even though he has passed, the world still listens to his music and his wife Rita along with the Wailers and their kids still continue his legacy. Rita and the rest of the Marley family created a foundation based on Bob Marley’s beliefs and inspirations called the Bob Marley Foundation to help people and organizations in impoverished countries. Marley will be missed but his legacy shall go on forever.

Works Cited

"Bob Marley Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.
"Bob Marley Quotes." Bob Marley Quotes (Author of Complete Lyrics of Bob Marley). N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

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