The Wailers' big break came in when they landed a contract with Island Records. Marley went on to sell more than 20 million records throughout his career, making him the first international superstar to emerge from the so-called Third World. Born on February 6, , in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica, Marley helped introduce reggae music to the world and remains one of the genre's most beloved artists to this day.
The son of a black teenage mother and much older, later absent white father, he spent his early years in St. Ann Parish, in the rural village known as Nine Miles.
One of his childhood friends in St. Attending the same school, the two shared a love of music. Bunny inspired Marley to learn to play the guitar. Arriving in Kingston in the late s, Marley lived in Trench Town, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. He struggled in poverty, but he found inspiration in the music around him.
Trench Town had a number of successful local performers and was considered the Motown of Jamaica. Sounds from the United States also drifted in over the radio and through jukeboxes.
Marley and Livingston devoted much of their time to music. Under the guidance of Joe Higgs, Marley worked on improving his singing abilities. A local record producer, Leslie Kong, liked Marley's vocals and had him record a few singles, the first of which was "Judge Not," released in While he did not fare well as a solo artist, Marley found some success joining forces with his friends.
Their first single, "Simmer Down," went to the top of the Jamaican charts in January The group became quite popular in Jamaica, but they had difficulty making it financially. Braithewaite, Kelso and Smith left the group. The remaining members drifted apart for a time. Marley went to the United States where his mother was now living. However, before he left, he married Rita Anderson on February 10, After eight months, Marley returned to Jamaica.
He reunited with Livingston and McIntosh to form the Wailers. Around this time, Marley was exploring his spiritual side and developing a growing interest in the Rastafarian movement. Both religious and political, the Rastafarian movement began in Jamaica in s and drew its beliefs from many sources, including Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Old Testament and their African heritage and culture.
For a time in the late s, Marley worked with pop singer Johnny Nash. Nash scored a worldwide hit with Marley's song "Stir It Up. The following year, Marley worked on a movie soundtrack in Sweden with Johnny Nash. The Wailers got their big break in when they landed a contract with Island Records, founded by Chris Blackwell.
For the first time, the group hit the studios to record a full album. The result was the critically acclaimed Catch a Fire. That same year, the group released their second full album, Burnin' , featuring the hit song "I Shot the Sheriff. Before releasing their next album, 's Natty Dread , two of the three original Wailers left the group; McIntosh and Livingston decided to pursue solo careers as Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, respectively.
Violence sometimes erupted due to these conflicts. Already a much-admired star in his native Jamaica, Marley was on his way to becoming an international music icon. He made the U. One track stands out as an expression of his devotion to his faith and his interest in political change: "War. A battle cry for freedom from oppression, the song discusses a new Africa, one without the racial hierarchy enforced by colonial rule.
And his influence in his native land was seen as a threat to the PNP's rivals. This may have led to the assassination attempt on Marley in A group of gunmen attacked Marley and the Wailers while they were rehearsing on the night of December 3, , two days before a planned concert in Kingston's National Heroes Park. One bullet struck Marley in the sternum and the bicep, and another hit his wife, Rita, in the head.
Fortunately, the Marleys were not severely injured, but manager Don Taylor was not as fortunate. Shot five times, Taylor had to undergo surgery to save his life. Despite the attack and after much deliberation, Marley still played at the show. The motivation behind the attack was never uncovered, and Marley fled the country the day after the concert. Living in London, England, Marley went to work on Exodus , which was released in The title track draws an analogy between the biblical story of Moses and the Israelites leaving exile and his own situation.
The song also discusses returning to Africa. The concept of Africans and descendents of Africans repatriating their homeland can be linked to the work of Marcus Garvey. Released as a single, "Exodus" was a hit in Britain, as were "Waiting in Vain" and "Jamming," and the entire album stayed on the U. Today, Exodus is considered to be one of the best albums ever made. Marley had a health scare in He sought treatment in July of that year on a toe he had injured earlier that year.
After discovering cancerous cells in his toe, doctors suggested amputation. Marley refused to have the surgery, however, because his religious beliefs prohibited amputation. While working on Exodus , Marley and the Wailers recorded songs that were later released on the album Kaya That same year, Marley made his first trip to Africa, and visited Kenya and Ethiopia—an especially important nation to him, as it's viewed as the spiritual homeland of Rastafarians. Perhaps inspired by his travels, his next album, Survival , was seen as a call for both greater unity and an end to oppression on the African continent.
One line from the song reads: "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds. They also planned a series of concerts in the United States, but the group would play only three concerts there — two at Madison Square Garden in New York City and one performance at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—before Marley became ill. The cancer discovered earlier in his toe had spread throughout his body.
Traveling to Europe, Marley underwent unconventional treatment in Germany and was subsequently able to fight off the cancer for months. It soon became clear that Marley didn't have much longer to live, however, so the musician set out to return to his beloved Jamaica one last time.
Sadly, he would not manage to complete the journey, dying in Miami, Florida, on May 11, Shortly before his death, Marley had received the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government.
He had also been awarded the Medal of Peace from the United Nations in Adored by the people of Jamaica, Marley was given a hero's send-off. More than 30, people paid their respects to the musician during his memorial service, held at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica.
Marley achieved several great accomplishments during his lifetime, including serving as a world ambassador for reggae music, earning induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in , and selling more than 20 million records—making him the first international superstar to emerge from the so-called Third World. Decades after his passing, Marley's music remains widely acclaimed. His musical legacy has also continued through his family and longtime bandmates; Rita continues to perform with the I-Threes, the Wailers and some of the Marley children.
Marley reportedly fathered nine children, though reports vary. Ziggy and Stephen have also had solo successes. Sons Damian "Gong Jr. Other Marley children are involved in family-related businesses, including the Tuff Gong record label, founded by Marley in the mids. Marley's commitment to fighting oppression also continues through an organization that was established in his memory by the Marley family: The Bob Marley Foundation is devoted to helping people and organizations in developing nations.
We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Author R. Stine is famous for writing 'Goosebumps,' the bestselling horror series for kids. He also created the successful 'Fear Street' series. Robert Kennedy was attorney general during his brother John F.
Kennedy's administration. He later served as a U. Senator and was assassinated during his run for the presidency. Serial killer Bobby Joe Long brutally murdered 10 women in He was executed in May Known for his fast and easy "wet-on-wet" painting technique, Bob Ross reached millions of art lovers with his popular television program 'The Joy of Painting. The first female prime minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher was a controversial figurehead of conservative ideology during her time in office.
Bob Fosse is a choreographer, dancer and director best known for Tony Award-winning musicals including 'Chicago' and 'Cabaret. Conrad Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson in November Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy, and nephew of former U. Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter Bob Marley served as a world ambassador for reggae music and sold more than 20 million records throughout his career.