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History on Bob Marley

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Submitted By mschaffer
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MUS 206
Term Project

Bob Marley
By Megan Schaffer

Bob Marley is an internationally known for reggae music; he is also a guitarist, songwriter, observant of the Rastafari, a son, a husband, and a father. He was part of a reggae band called Bob Marley & the Wailers (1963-1981). Marley was brought up by a single mother, and living in the ghettos of Jamaica. Now today, even after his death, people still listen to that passion filled music he created, and his legacy will live on forever; his sons Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley are making sure of that with their music they are making.
He was born Nesta Robert Marley, February 6, 1945, in the village of Nine Mile in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. A Jamaican passport official would later swap his first and middle names which is how he became Bob Marley. He was mixed race; his father, Norval Sinclair Marley who was White Jamaican and his mother, Cedella Booker, an Afro-Jamaican. Norval provided financial support to Cedella and Bob, but was rarely around as he was often away on trips. In 1955, when Bob was just 10 years old, Norval died of a heart attack at the age 70. Bob Marley faced questions about his own racial identity throughout his whole life. He once reflected:
I don’t have to 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 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. (
This is just one thing he dealt with within his life time. He struggled with poverty, but that was the start of his inspiration of his music.
After arriving in Kingston in the late 1950s, he lived in Treach Town, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Treach Town was filled with music, was considered the Motown of Jamaica. The music for the United States came over thanks to radio and jukebox; he enjoyed Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and the Drifters. Neville “Bunny” O’Riley Livingston was a childhood friend of Marley and they shared the love of music. Livingston was the person who encouraged Marley to learn to play the guitar. In 1963 Marley found that he wasn’t up for being a solo artist, so he joined with his friends, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. Their first single, “Simmer Down,” went to the top of the Jamaican charts in January 1964.
By this time the group also included Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith. The group was poplar in Jamaica, but they still were having issues financially, so Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith left the group. The group drifted apart for some time, and Marley decided that he would move to the United States where mother is was living. Before he left Jamaica he did marry Rita Anderson on February 10, 1966. After eight months Marley returned to Jamaica, where he reunited with Livingston and McIntosh to form the Wailers. About that time was where Marley was exploring his spiritual side and developed a growing interested for the Rastafarian movement. The Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica in the 1930s and drew its beliefs from many sources, including Jamaica-born nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Old Testament, and their African heritage and culture.
The Wailers got their big break in 1972 when they landed a recording deal with Island Records. They then recorded their first full album Catch a Fire. With that album, they toured Britain and the United States in 1973. They performed as an opening act for Bruce Springsteen and for Sly & the Family Stone. That same year they recorded their next album Burnin which had the song “I Shot the Sheriff.” Before their next album came out, 1975’s Natty Dread, two of the three original Wailers left the group. McIntosh and Livingston pursued solo careers. For the next tour the remaining group was enhanced by the addition of I-Three, a group of females’ vocalists that was Marley’s wife Rita, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt. Now they are called Bob Marley & the Wailers. During that tour they scored their first top 40 hit with “No Woman No Cry” in 1975. By 1976 he made the charts with the album Rastaman Vibration in 1976. That album had the song “War” which was taken from a speech by Haile Selassie, the twentieth-century Ethiopian emperor. Marley left Jamaica at the end of 1976, he did a month long “recovering and writing” at the Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, then he arrived in England where he spent two year in self-imposed exile; this is where he recorded the albums Exodus and Kaya. In 1978 he returned to Jamaica and performed at another political concert. Under the name Bob Marley & the Wailers there is eleven albums, four live albums, and seven studio albums. Confrontation was released posthumously in 1983, containing unreleased material recorded during Marley’s lifetime; it included the hit “Buffalo Soldier.”
Bob Marley had a number of children; only three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita’s pervious relationships, and some with other women. The Bob Marley official website says he has eleven children. Those listed on that official website 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 May 30, 1981, to Yvette Crichton after Marley’s death but it not listed on the website. There are even reports that they are more children that women are claiming are his; all born after shortly after his death. In July of 1977, Marley was told he had a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of one of his toes. At that time he had already had symptoms of cancer before being told about the melanoma. Marley turned away from the advice of the doctors to having the toe amputated, because it was against his beliefs. Even though Marley was ill, he still toured and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980. The opening act was supposed to be the group Inner Circle, but when the lead singer, Jacob Miller died March 1980 it was no longer mentioned. Marley’s final concert was held September 23, 1980 at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shortly after Marley became very ill, the cancer had spread throughout his whole body. After fighting cancer for eight months, Marley got on a plane and went back home to Jamaica. While flying Marley’s vital signs got worse; after landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to the hospital. That was where he died on May 11, 1981 at 36 years old. His final words to his son Ziggy were, “money can’t buy you love.” Marley had a funeral in Jamaica on May 21, 1981 near his birth place.
Style Characteristics: He was a song writer, guitarist, and lead singer that were ska, rocksteady, and reggae. He was a huge help in spreading both Jamaican music, and the Rastafri movement to the world. His most popular song that would have to be “No Woman No Cry” released in 1977, ask anybody the first Bob Marley song they know it was be that song. He had other work that included, “One Love” 1977, “Jamming” 1977, “Could You Be Loved” 1980, and “Buffalo Soldier” 1983. This is just a few of his famous songs. Bob Marley may have lived a short life dying at age 36, but he lived a wise life. He had never really known his father since he traveled a lot and he, died when Bob Marley was only ten years old. He struggled with cancer and didn’t win that battle. He will live on forever thanks to success, and through his children who keep his words alive.
Listening Selection: One Love is just a feel good, happy song. He talks about everyone getting together just be in love; we don’t need to fight when we can just love each other. Has a very steady beat with the medal drums going, and bongos; very upbeat, yet still slow. He even says, “Let’s thank the lord and feel alright.” It shows his love for just everyone, and how he wanted everyone to just live together in peace and love. This feeling of wanting everyone to just live in peace comes from his childhood where he was made fun of for being a mixed race, and not living the greatest places, but he made it through and look what he did. He is known for his music, his death, and his children. This man just loved and if after looking more into him I see this strong, caring, passionate man her really was. Jamming is very upbeat, still has the metal drums, a medium tempo, but can’t help but move when it comes on. Jamming is still a feel good, come love the lord song. Bob Marley really just wants to bring everyone together with his music. “I want to jam it with you,” is just some lyrics that show how he open hearted he was. I don’t think there’s a person in the world who can say they haven’t heard something by Bob Marley, but yes most his songs were just the same lyric repeated over, but people don’t care because the upbeat, happy sounds that came from his music just was so uplifting people can’t hate it. That is why people loved his music, it was a break from the typical love songs, or the typical party songs; he was talking about uniting everyone in the world together. It was different, and changed the world is what Bob Marley did.
This was a great experience for me; I got to look deeper into someone who I already had respected, and after this paper I respect him even more. I enjoyed seeing how he grew up; I didn’t even know that he was mixed before this. How he was raised with pretty much just his mom, and how he lived such a life of love even though he never really lived the best life. He’s an inspiration to me that no matter what is happening in your life you can always find peace and love in it is what I’m taking from this paper. How he is the reason reggae music is the way it is now, and how he has made his mark in the world forever with such a short time. His words will live on forever because they are true, and because he shared his wisdom with the world and his children. He wasn’t a perfect man, but a wise, loving one.
I was able to find out information about Bob Marley from Wikipedia, his official website, and I could have gone to so many other places, watched movies and more. He is someone people what to know about, and I was one that’s why I choose him for this assignment. His music and wisdom with carrying on for years to come.

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