WHAT LIES IN THE ‘M’?
By: Michelle Harripersadth
Let’s take a journey through life- when every action has a reaction, what has the ability to make you feel the greatest emotions in the world?
Music… It has and always will be your companion through every dark night and bright day. Music is the only thing that when it hits you, you feel no pain and Marley said it best: “Live the life you love and love the life you live”. His music has the ability to enable you to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.
The exquisite culture, infectious beats and love for life was the main reason that I was drawn to the Jamaican singer. I fell in love with his music instantly and from that moment on “Live the life you love and love the life you live” was not a quote but the actual words that I lived by. His music inspired millions of people including myself and it had the ability to transform your mood and give you hope.
Nesta Robert Bob Marley was born in a village in Saint Ann Parish (Jamaica) on the 6th of February 1945. Although he was raised in a catholic home he became captivated by the Rastafarian beliefs in the 1960s. His father Norval Sinclair Marley was a white Englishman and his mother Cedelia Booker was a Black Jamaican.
He often faced prejudice because of his racial identity and in doing so he reflected on his life in a way that he felt appropriate “I don’t have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half caste or whatever. Me don’t deh pon nobody’s side. Me don’t deh pon the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me deh pon gods side.The one who create me and cause me to come from black and white.”
At the tender age of 14,Marley dropped out of school to learn the welding trade and spent his spare time learning how to play music. This was the start of his musical career. Marley recorded his first two singles in 1962, but they were not successful. In 1963 he started a Ska Band with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, originally named “The Teenagers” which later became “The Wailing Rude boys,” then “The Wailing Wailers,” and finally just “The Wailers.”
The Wailer’s early music, which was recorded in the popular rock steady style, included songs called “Simmer Down” and “Soul Rebel” which were released in 1964 and 1965 and were written by Marley.
In 1966 Marley married Rita Anderson. They spent a few months living in Delaware with his mother and later returned to Jamaica. He began practicing the Rastafarian faith, and began growing his signature dreadlocks. He spent the majority of the late 1970s trying to promote peace and cultural understanding within Jamaica.
The Wailers album, “Burnin” was released in 1974 and featured popular tracks such as “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Get Up, Stand Up,” which gathered cult followings in both the US and Europe. However in the same year “The Wailers” broke up to pursue solo careers.
Marley continued to tour and record as “Bob Marley & the Wailers,” and in 1975, “No Woman, No Cry” became his first major breakthrough hit song and eventually his album “Rastaman Vibration” became a Billboard Top 10 Album.
Marley’s music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his homeland and is considered The voice of political and cultural issues in Jamaica. His music had its genesis in ska and rock steady an eventually evolved into a new style that has and always will be known as the power of Reggae. Some say he was the “Third world’s first pop star”.
In 1981 the world lost a legend, a man who fought for what he believed in and a musical genius who was not afraid to challenge the status quo. Bob Nesta Marley died on the 11th of May 1981of Cancer, in Miami Florida.
The memory of the Rastafarian legend still lives on. Marley has won the world over both as the defining figure of Jamaican music and as a spiritual leader. His wife Rita continues to carry on his work and legacy. Marley was awarded a spot in the rock and roll hall of fame and won the Grammy’s prestigious lifetime achievement award.
The story of a man who transcendened his art form, and introduced the world to reggae music, need not have an introduction or conclusion. His achievements and beliefs live steady strong in our current day and age simply because, true music and true legends never die.
“Every mans got a right to decide his own destiny. My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool to say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever” -Bob Marley