People Who Kick Buts: Bob Marley
The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.
- Born on February 1945 and passed away on May 11 1981.
- He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers (1963–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience.
- Marley’s music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his homeland, and he is considered to have given voice to the specific political and cultural nexus of Jamaica.
- Bob Marley was born in the village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica as Nesta Robert Marley. A Jamaican passport official would later swap his first and middle names.
- His father, Norval Sinclair Marley, was a white Jamaican of mixed and English descent whose family came from Sussex, England. Norval was a captain in the Royal Marines, as well as a plantation overseer, when he married Cedella Booker, an Afro-Jamaican then 18 years old.
- Norval provided financial support for his wife and child, but seldom saw them, as he was often away on trips. In 1955, when Bob Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at age 70.
- Although Marley recognised his mixed ancestry, throughout his life and because of his beliefs, he self-identified as a black African, following the ideas of Pan-African leaders. Marley stated that his two biggest influences were the African-centered Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie.
- Marley and his step brother Bunny Wailer (Bob’s mother had a daughter with Bunny’s father, younger sister to both of them) started to play music while he was still at school, which he left at the age of 14 to make music with Joe Higgs, a local singer and devout Rastafari. At a jam session with Higgs and Livingston, Marley met Peter McIntosh (later known as Peter Tosh), who had similar musical ambitions.
- Bob Marley had a number of children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita’s previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children.
- In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of one of his toes. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match in that year, but was instead a symptom of the already existing cancer. Marley turned down doctors’ advice to have his toe amputated, citing his religious beliefs.
- Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980.
- The final concert of Bob Marley’s career was held 23 September 1980 at the Stanley Theater (now called The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
- Shortly after, Marley’s health deteriorated and he became very ill; the cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at the Bavarian clinic of Josef Issels, where he received a controversial type of cancer therapy (Issels treatment) partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances. After fighting the cancer without success for eight months, Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica.