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Bob Marley

Ben Mashmoor

Alex Gurvits

Early Life

Bob Marley was considered a hero of his time, and of ours. Born February 6, 1945 in St. Ann, Jamaica. Died on May 11, 1981 in Miami FL. His mother couldn’t find a job in St. Ann so they moved to Trenchtown.
In Trenchtown, Bob spent a lot of his time with his good friend Neville Livingstone who people called by his nickname, Bunny. Also in the big city Bob was more exposed to the music which he had loved, like big singers likes Fats Domino and Ray Charles. Bob and Bunny attended a music class together which was held by the famous Jamaican singer Joe Higgs. In that class they met Peter Macintosh and soon became good friends. When Bob was 16, he started to follow his dream of becoming a musician. For most of the young kids living there, music was just a way to relax from everything bad that was going on in their town. One of those kids was Jimmy Cliff who at the age of 14 had already recorded a couple of hits. After meeting Bob, Jimmy introduced him to Leslie Kong, a local record producer. Bob followed his advice and auditioned for Leslie Kong. Bob's musical talents were one of the best the town has ever seen and soon found himself in the studio recording his first single "Judge Not". Unfortunately neither "Judge Not" nor his 1962 single "One more cup of Coffee" did very well. Bob soon left Kong after she didn’t give him his pay.

the following year Bob, Bunny and some other friends formed the Wailing Wailers. The didn't get off to a great start, and after just a couple recording sessions two members, Cherry and Junior Braithwait left the band. The band continued on and were introduced to Clemet Dodd, a producer of the record company Coxsone. It was here where the Wailing Wailers recorded the first song "Simmer Down" which did quite well in Jamaica. To help with the recording of their songs the studio provided several talented Ska musicians. The Wailing Wailers consisting now of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny were starting to become quite popular locally. Their audiences rapidly grew and they recorded several more songs on the Coxsone label which included "It Hurts to be Alone" and "Rule the Roadie" Bob soon took on the role of the leader, being the main songwriter and all.
Mid Lifeexternal image BobMarleyTheWailersbobwailers1980.jpgMarley's life continued to look good on February 10, 1966 when Bob Marley married his girlfriend Rita Anderson. The next day Bob left for the United States to visit his mother who lived in Delaware. While in the US he worked to better finance his music and soon returned home. When Bob Marley returned the Wailing Wailers' music evolved from Ska to Rock Steady. This evolution conflicted with Coxsone who wanted a Ska band. So the newly Wailing Wailers left Coxsone to form and renamed themselves the Wailers. Instead of looking around for a new label the Wailers decided to form their own which they called Wail 'N' Soul. This coincided with the birth of the Marley's first born who they named Cedalla. They released a couple signals on their label such as "Bend down low" and "Mellow Mood" before it folded the very same year.
The folding of the label, greatly affected the band, until they met Lee Perry. Who got the band on track, and helped them release great tracks such as "Duppy Conquerer", "Soul Rebel", "400 Years" and "Small Axe".

1970 The Wailers were now quite popular throughout the Caribbean but still internationally unknown. With this popularity a second more successful label was formed by the Wailers called Tuff Gong after a nickname of Bob Marley. The Wailers met Johnny Nash and soon Bob accompanied Nash to Sweden and London. When in London, Bob recorded "Reggae on Broadway" which was released by CBS. After this the rest of the Wailers arrived in London to help promote the single only to find that there were out of money and stranded there. With little options available, Bob went into the Island Records Basing Street Studios and asked to speak to the boss, Chris Blackwell with hopes of a possible record deal. Mr. Blackwell already heard of the wailers, and signed them immediately. Spring 1973 the Wailers arrived in London, to start their 3 month tour of Britain. They returned to Jamaica after their tour.

With 1973 winding down the Wailers released the much anticipated follow up album to "Catch a Fire" called "Burnin". On this album many Wailer classics appear such as "I shot the Sheriff" and "Get Up Stand Up".

1975 they released the track Natty Dread which included, some of their most famous tracks such as “talking blues”, “No Woman No Cry” and “Revolution”.

On the Rasta man Vibration album was the powerful track "War" which lyrics came from a speech given by Emperor Haile Selassie. Bob Marley decided to play a free concert at Kingston's National Heroes Park on December 5, 1976. The idea behind the concert was a peaceful message against the ghetto wars happening in Trenchtown at the time. Tragedy struck two days before that he get on stage, gunmen broke into the Marley home and shot at Bob, Rita, and two friends. Luckily no one was killed. Despite this Bob Marley went on to put on a memorable show two days later at the Smile Jamaica concert. Following the show the band left for the UK. While they were there they recorded 1977's "Exodus". Possibly their best album to date, it solidified the band's international stardom. It went number one in many countries including England and Germany. It was also one of the top albums of the year.

Later in Life

external image family_l1.jpgThe Seventies were now coming to a close, Bob Marley and the Wailers were the most popular band on the road breaking many festival records. In 1980 the band found themselves in Gabon to perform in Africa for the first time. Here Bob Marley discovered that there manager had defrauded the band, Bob gave him a beating and fired him. The Zimbabwean government invited the whole band to perform at the countries Independence Ceremony in April. Bob later said of the invitation to be the biggest honour of his life.

After the amazing honour and experience Bob Marley continue to record, "Uprising" was released in 1980. Everything was looking bright, the band was planning an American tour with Stevie Wonder for that winter. Bob's health was deteriorating, but he still got clearance from a doctor to go on the road. The tour started with Boston, followed by New York. During the New York show Bob's looked very sick and he almost fainted. The next morning on Sept. 21 while jogging through Central, Bob collapsed and was brought to the hospital. There a brain tumour was discovered and doctors gave him a month to live. Rita Marley wanted the tour cancelled but Bob wanted to continue on. He played an unforgettable show in Pittsburgh but was too ill to continue so the tour was finally cancelled.

It would be the last show he ever performed. Treatment prolonged his life somewhat but the inevitable was soon to happening. Bob was transported to a Miami hospital where he was baptized Berhane Selassie in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on November 4. In a final attempt to save his life he underwent a controversial treatment in Germany. While in Germany he celebrated his 36th and final birthday. Ultimately the treatment didn't work. Bob wanted to die at home so he was flown back. Unfortunately he didn't finish the trip, he died on May 11, 1981 in a Miami hospital. He was internationally mourned for and thousands showed up at his May 21 funeral to show their respects. In attendance wereboth the Jamaican President and the Leader of the Opposition. Bob Marley now rests in a mausoleum at his birthplace.

After his death he was awarded Jamaica's Order of Merit. The Prophet Gad insisted on becoming the owner of Bob's ring. However, amazingly the ring the disappeared and still has yet to be found. Bob's mother said that the ring was returned to it's place of origin.

Bob Marley knew of his fate. Being a visionary he foresaw this, his words will forever be immortalized in the lyrics in which he wrote.

"One bright morning when my work is over I will fly away home"

Africa Unite.
Goals-The Foundation seeks to alleviate hunger and poverty by providing financial support and various other resources available through the Foundation. Music and sports are the primary vehicles used to educate communities, bridge racial gaps, and promote cross-cultural communication. The Marley Family, through the Bob Marley Foundation, is implementing and/or supporting humanitarian initiatives in Jamaica, Ethiopia and Ghana. In Jamaica, the Trench Town Redevelopment Project maintains the legacy of Bob Marley in the area of Kingston known as the birthplace of "The Wailers." The Trench Town Redevelopment Project consists of a community centre, library and small museum.
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