Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bob Marley's Birthday:Celebrating the Birth of a Legend!

Today we celebrate the birth of Robert Nesta Marley, known to most as Bob Marley. Bob as born on February 6 1945 in the rural parish of St Ann's, in Jamaica this year would have marked Bob's 62nd birthday. He left home at 14 to pursue a music career in Kingston becoming the pupil, of a local singer, a devout Rastafarian and later forming the Wailing Wailers with two friends and fellow musicians Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

In 1972 the Wailing Wailers (later known simply as the Wailers) came to the attention of Chris Blackwell of Island Records who signed them to his label. This was a risky move because t the time reggae bands were never signed to big labels
and when the Wailers released their first album Catch a Fire, that was to be the first time a reggae band ever put out an album. Most reggae releases at the time were either singles or compilations.

The following year 1973, Catch a Fire was followed by Burnin' which included the hits

Get Up Stand Upand I Shot the Sheriff.The latter was covered and became a massive hit for Eric Clapton.
Get Up, Stand Up

I Shot The Sheriff

1974 saw the release of Natty Dread.The album contained the group's massive hit
No Woman No Cry. A hugely successful European tour and an equally successful Live album was recorded and released. With the success of 1976's Rastaman Vibration , which hit the Top Ten in the U.S., it became increasingly clear that Bob's music had carved its own niche within the pop mainstream.

No Woman No Cry

As great as Marley's fame had grown outside of Jamaica, at home he was viewed as a figure of almost mystical proportions, a poet and prophet whose every word had the nation's collective ear. His power was perceived as a threat in some quarters, and on December 3, 1976 he was wounded in an assassination attempt; the ordeal forced Marley to leave Jamaica for over a year.

1977's Exodus was his biggest record to date, generating the hits "Jamming, " "Waiting in Vain" and "One
Love/People Get Ready"; This remains one of the most important reggae albums of all time. It remained in the British charts for 56 weeks straight. The single "Jamming" is the inspiration behind the 1980 songMasterbaster (Jammin') by Stevie Wonder

One Love

Waiting In Vain


Kaya released in 1978was another smash, highlighted by the gorgeous "Is This Love" and "Satisfy My Soul." It was an album of mainly love songs and debuted in the UK album charts at number 4. Both Exodus and Kaya were recorded while In London, England where Bob was in exile after the assassination attempt at his home.Another classic live album, Babylon by Bus,was recorded and released after another sell-out European tour.

Is This Love

Satisfy My Soul

In 1979, the militant Survival was released and a tour of the United States and Europe followed.During the European leg of the tour Marley broke festival
records and performed to a capacity 100 000 crowd in Milan and to packed stadiums in Germany. Bob Marley & The Wailers were the most important band on the road that year and reggae and the Rasta message was being spread to every corner of the globe.

1980 loomed as Marley's biggest year yet. He was officially invited by the Government of the newly-liberated Zimbabwe to play at the country's first
Independence Ceremony. It was the greatest honour ever to be accorded the band and marked the band's importance in the Third World.

Bob Performs Natural Mystic In Zimbabwe


Uprising was released and it included the hits Could You Be Loved and the massive Redemption Song.
Could You Be Loved

Redemption Song

A tour of the U.S. with Stevie Wonder was announced but while jogging in New York's Central Park Bob collapsed, and it was discovered he suffered from cancer which had spread to his brain, lungs and liver. Uprising was the final album released in Marley's lifetime -- he died May 11, 1981 at age 36.

A posthumous album Confrontation was released in 1983 and included the big hit Buffalo Soldier His posthumous compilation album Legend (1984) is the best-selling reggae album ever, with sales of more than 12 million copies.

Bob Marley was the first Jamaican and Third World artist to achieve international super stardom, in the process introducing the music of his native island nation to the corners of the globe. Marley's music gave voice to the day-to-day struggles of the Jamaican experience, vividly capturing not only the plight of the country's
impoverished and oppressed but also the devout spirituality which remains their source of strength. His songs of faith, devotion and revolution created a legacy which continues to live on not only through the music of his extended family but also through generations of artists the world over touched by his genius.Bob's legend and, indeed,legacy continues and his inspirational and sometimes militant lyrics and music continue to inspire us.
Redemption Song Live in Germany 1980

A month before his death Bob was awarded Jamaica's Order of Merit, the country's highest honour in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the country's culture.

The Hon. Robert Nesta Marley O.M.: We remember and salute you.

Bob Marley Interview In Canada 1979

Interview in New Zealand 1979

On Feb. 10, four of Bob's sons -– Stephen, Ky-mani, Damian "Junior Gong" and Julian –- will play the Smile Jamaica concert in Bob's birthplace and burial site, Nine Miles, St. Ann. The show is a nod to the legendary peace concert of the same name that took place in Kingston on Dec. 5, 1976, only two days after an assassination attempt on Marley.

Leading up to that event, there was plenty going on around Bob's native land. On the eve of Bob's birthday on Feb. 5, the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston hosted a three-hour symposium called "Welcome to Jamrock: Reggae Music's Influence on Tourism and the Economy."

And for Bob Marley Day on Feb. 6, there were school tours of Tuff Gong International, the renowned record label, studio and shop, an evening "Soul Shake Down Party" at the museum and a Nyabinghi Rasta event at the Culture Yard in Trench Town in Kingston.

On Feb. 7 at the museum, there will be a movie night while the Culture Yard will host a night of dance hall reggae music. And on Feb. 8 at the Senate Building, Dr. Leachim Semaj of the University of the West Indies will deliver an evening lecture entitled, "Bob Marley: National Hero or National Icon."

On US television VH1 will present a special Bob Marley edition of the "Island Soul" program, hosted by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley and Stephen Marley in honor of Bob's birthday. It premieres Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. ET. Lookout for it!


Keli said...


Thank you soooo much for this post! I am going to have to watch every clip once I get to my home computer. I might also try to catch the special edition "Island Sould" show. Bob Marley RIP!

slyy said...

Thanks Kelli, glad you liked it.