Bob Marley, who entered the world in 1945 as Nesta Robert Marley, was a world-famous reggae singer, song writer and musician until his death in 1981. His group, The Wailers, is credited with bringing reggae, a traditionally Jamaican music, into the world scene. This brilliant writing style, unique words and fantastic stage presence carried him through decades off phenomenal creativity.
Marley broke into the musical scene in 1963 with the reggae group “The Wailers,” which consisted of Marley and his friends Bunny Wailer, Peter tosh, Junior Brathwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith. This fantastic amalgamation of creative genius only lasted until 1966, when Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith left the band.
In 1972, Marley and his band were signed by Island Records. In order to snag a larger audience, The Wailers began to change their sound to get away from the traditional Jamaican reggae musical and attract a more rock orientated artist. It was during this time that they recorded some of their most famous songs, including I Shot the Sherriff.
He continued to write, tour, and play for decades, until his poor health caught up with him. He developed a malignant melanoma in the nail bed of one of his big toes. Citing religious reasons, he refused to have the toe amputated and the treatment he opted for did not manage to remove all of the cancer. It managed to spread throughout his body until it finally killed him on May 11th, 1981.
Marley lived his life as a Catholic, until he converted to Rastafarian in 1966. Rastafarian is a traditional Jamaican religion and culture. Later he was baptized as a Christian some months before his death.
Even to this day, he is often associated with marijuana because of his use of it is a religious sacrament. He used it as a part of his own personal religious growth and a way to become wiser.
During his life, he received three primary accolades: Rolling Stone named him band of the year in 1976, he was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the UN in 1978, and in February 1981, mere months before his death, he was awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit.
Posthumously, he was awarded a variety of honors, including an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, both in 2001.
Without Bob Marley and his musical efforts, the lyrical wonder and delightful tempo of reggae may have remained hidden on the islands for all time. His contribution to music alone makes him a legend. His contribution to philosophy and the state of the world makes him a phenomenal individual worthy of remembrance.
For more of Bob Marley’s brilliance, check out inspirational Bob Marley quotes about life and love.