Bob Marley

1786 WORDS

Bob Marley
Jamaica has produced an artist who has touched all categories, classes, and
creeds through innate modesty and profound wisdom. Bob Marley, the Natural

Mystic who introduced reggae to European and American fans still may prove to be
the most significant musical artist of the twentieth century. Bob Marley gave
the world brilliant music and established reggae as major forces in music that
is comparable with the blues and rock&rolls. His work stretched across
nearly two decades and still remains timeless. Bob Marley & the Wailers
worked their way into all of our lives. "He's taken his place with James

Brown and Sly Stone as pervasive influence on r&b", said Timothy White,
author of the Bob Marley biography "Catch A Fire". It is important to
think of the roots of this legend: the first superstar from the Third World, Bob

Marley was one of the most charismatic and challenging performers of his time.

His music reflects only one source: the street culture of Jamaica. Later, in

1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia. Tafari claimed to be
the 225th ruler in a line that went back to Menelik, the son of Solomon. The

Garvey followers in Jamaica, who consulted their New Testaments for a sign,
believed that Haile Selassie was the black king that Garvey had said would
deliver the black race. It was the start of a new religion called Rastafari,
which Bob was into heavily. Fifteen years after, in Nine Miles deep within

Jamaica Robert Nesta Marley was born. His mother Cedella Booker was an
eighteen-year-old black girl while his father was Captain Norval Marley, a

50-year-old white man working for the Jamaican Forestry Commission. The couple
married in 1944 and Norval left Cedella to legitimize their unborn child. Then

Bob was born on February 6, 1945. Norval's family applied constant pressure to

Bob and, although he provided financial support, Norval seldom saw his son who
grew up in St. Ann to the north of the island. Bob Marley, barely into his
teens, moved to Kingston (Trench Town) in the late Fifties. His friends Were
other street youths, also not happy with their place in society. One friend

Neville O'Riley Livingston was known as Bunny, Bob met Bunny when his mom took
work taking rooms behind a rum bar owned by Toddy Livingston Bunnys father. Bob
took his first musical steps with Bunny. They were fascinated by the music they
could pick up from American radio stations. Especially Ray Charles, Fats Domino,

Curtis Mayfield, and Brook Benton. Bob and Bunny also paid close attention to
vocal groups, such as the Drifters, who were popular in Jamaica. Bob quit school
and seemed to have one ambition, music. He took a job in a welding shop, but
spent all his free time with Bunny working on their vocal abilities, with the
help of one of Trench Town's famous residents, singer Joe Higgs. Higgs held
informal lessons for aspiring vocalists. At one of those sessions Bob and Bunny
met Peter McIntosh, who also had musical ambitions. In 1962 Bob Marley
auditioned for Leslie Kong. Impressed by the quality of Bob's vocals, Kong took

Bob into the studio to cut some tracks; the first was called "Judge

Not" and was released on Beverley's label. It was Bob's first record. The
other songs - including "Terror" and "One Cup of Coffee" -
received no airplay and attracted little attention. However, they confirmed

Bob's ambition to be a singer. The following year Bob had decided to form a
group. He joined Bunny and Pete to form The Wailing Wailers. The new group had a
mentor, a Rastafarian hand drummer Alvin Patterson who introduced them to

Clement Dodd, a record producer in Kingston. In the summer of 1963 Dodd
auditioned The Wailing Wailers and pleased with the results, agreed to record
the group. The Wailing Wailers released their first single, "Simmer

Down", during the last weeks of 1963. The following January it was number
one in the Jamaican charts, where it stayed for the next two months. The group -

Bob, Bunny and Peter together with Junior Braithwaite and two back-up singers
were big news. "Simmer Down" caused a sensation in Jamaica and The

Wailing Wailers began recording regularly. The groups' music identified with the

Rude Boy street rebels in the Kingston slums. Jamaican music had found a tough,
urban stance. Despite their popularity the group broke apart and Bob's mother
remarried. She then moved to the U.S and wanted Bob to come to start a new life,
but before they left

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