Bob Marley has become an icon in the modern world, with his reggae music and Jamaican vibes still being spread across the world today. While this man clearly needs little introduction he is one of the best performers in history.
Best known for his songs, “No Woman, No Cry”, “One Love”, and “Redemption Song”, he rose to fame for his catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics of love, peace, and harmony. He wanted to build a better community through the unity that music brings.1
He was born on February 6, 1945, to parents Norvil Sinclair, and Cedella Marley. His full name was Robert Nesta Marley. Norvil was a white man, aged 60, while Cedella was a local, village girl, aged 19. The mixed racial marriage of his parents caused Bob Marley to be bullied a lot at school and even by his neighbours, but ultimately taught him his main life philosophy, “I am not on the white man’s side or the black man’s side. I’m on God’s side.”
He fully believed that philosophy through his entire life until he died on May 11, 1981, due to Melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Shortly after his death, he was buried in his hometown of Nine Mile, Jamaica at the Bob Marley Mausoleum.better community through the unity that music brings.2
There was no investigation into his death given that it was clearly of natural causes. That, of course, didn’t keep his name out of the news. Following his death, he was the full story of a Rolling Stones Magazine and was the subject of every news outlet.
Not only was his name everywhere, but thousands of people showed up to his memorial service, while thousands more lined the streets. His funeral was held at Kingston’s National Arena, with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, and the opposition reading lessons. His funeral was also a mix of pop and religious music, fit for him.
His death had such an impact that an important budget debate in Jamaica was postponed a week to allow the impact of his death and the funeral to be held. And while he continues to be an inspiration today, especially amongst the youth culture, there is conspiracy surrounding his death.3
That conspiracy is based around the CIA and a pair of boots. It’s said that the son of the then CIA director gifted a pair of boots to Bob Marley before one of his shows. When he put on the boot a metal coil stabbed his toe. Passing this off as a design flaw, he went on to perform.
Later when playing soccer, he broke that same toe and it was discovered that he had Melanoma. Many believe that the CIA gave him those boots purposefully through the director’s son so he wouldn’t be able to perform the week of the budget debates.
Many believe that CIA wanted to cause anger and panic during the debates to work some mischief of their own. In spite of the Melanoma and warnings given later by the CIA, he went on to perform that night and continued to perform, while receiving treatments for his cancer.4
It wasn’t until he was on his way home from receiving treatment in Germany that he passed. He never made it back to Jamaica and died in a Miami hospital.
He is remembered today by statues in Jamaica, and surprisingly Ethiopia; and also with a museum about his life as a person, a performer, and a role model for peace.5
While his life did seem to be all music, he also for a time was just a regular person. Many believe that for a time he worked at a Chrysler plant under the name of Donald Marley. This was not the only other name he had, although it is better than that of “White Boy” which the school children used to bully and beat him, simply for being from a mixed racial marriage.
That, of course, only fueled his career as a singer, and he performed for 20 years, starting 1961 with the Wailers.
During his music career he was married to Rita Marley for 15 years and had five children, but also had eight children with eight other women. He also had four siblings who created large families for themselves as well, making the Marley family legacy easier to live on.
He also received awards during and after his career including, the Peace Medal of the Third World: 1978, the Order of Merit: 1981, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award: 2001, and entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 1994.
Bob Marley lived a rich and fulfilling life, inspired thousands, fought the odds, and won the hearts of all. Bob Marley is definitely an icon for today’s world, tomorrow’s world and forevermore.6
For more information visit his official website.