WANTED: The man who shot the sheriff.note He didn't shoot the deputy, though.
Bob Marley (February 6, 1945 - May 11, 1981) was a Jamaican musician who popularized reggae as a musical art and (by association) Rastafari as a religious movement throughout Jamaica and the world at large.He was the lead singer for the Wailers, a Jamaican reggae and ska group which started in 1963 and lasted until 1974. During that time, Marley recorded many songs, both as a solo artist and in conjunction with the band, and many of those songs were released in the years following his death from cancer in 1981. Among his most well-known hits are "Get Up, Stand Up," "One Love," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Buffalo Soldier," "Redemption Song," "No Woman No Cry," and "Iron Lion Zion."Among his posthumous achievements: He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, awarded the 2001 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and had a statue of his likeness erected at Arthur Wint Drive in Kingston, Jamaica. Additionally, he appears in several works of tourism-related art and across various media, including having an Expy, "Bob, the King of Reggae," in the Twin Of Twins' "Stir It Up" dancehall series.Marley's most recognizable physical feature is his dreadlocks hairstyle, which has since become synonymous with Jamaican culture and is a favorite hairstyle for several reggae and Jamaican dancehall artistes and also generally for both men and women worldwide.He has an official website. The Other Wiki also has a greatly detailed page on him.A separate article exists about his album Exodus.
The line "you can fool some people some time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time" in "Get Up, Stand Up", is a variation on a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln although it's a Peter Tosh line not Marley (Marley does perform it on live albums after Peter left The Wailers though).
Marley's famous death bed quote to his son Ziggy "Money Can't Buy Life" is actually the title of a 1962 calypso song by Eric Morris.
Concept Album: Survival, about apartheid in Africa and encouraging its population to fight against it.
Darker and Edgier: Done several times, on account of his varying between pop reggae and political reggae. Soul Rebels from 1970 is a much darker album than most of The Wailers' other records from the period. Catch A Fire is darker than most of his other Island Records albums. Survival from 1979 is a darker album than its predecessor Kaya, something which was intentional.
Executive Meddling: A good example. Chris Blackwell, head of Island Records, suggested Bob included the acoustic version of "Redemption Song" on Uprising instead of the band version. This ended up making the song feel much more poignant, and to be seen as a fitting "goodbye" song. It also made it a stand out track on the album, leading to its release as a single, something which probably wouldn't have happened if the band version had been included.
Genre Savvy: Bob knew that the stereotype of reggae music was happy, sunshine holiday music, and so recorded more poppy singles that sat alongside his more serious political work (a pre-Island example being "Sugar Sugar" and two Island examples being "Shine Jamaica" and "Three Little Birds"). He even had the album Kaya mixed in that style, in the knowledge it would draw in fans for its highly political successor, Survival.
Happily Married: To Rita Marley (nee Anderson) for 15 years up to the time of his death. This despite numerous affairs, of which Rita was fully aware. Bob considered Rita to be like a sister to him, and was very protective of her.
Heavy Meta: "Trenchtown Rock," "Roots Rock Reggae," "Jamming"...
Hula and Luaus: In the video for "Three Little Birds," for no clear reason.
The reason could be that he had nothing to do with the song's release as a single.
In the Blood: Three of his children, Ky-Mani, Damian "Junior Gong" and David "Ziggy" Marley, went on to become well-known entertainers themselves.
As did Stephen, who is considered to have the most Bob-like voice out of them but has recorded the least material.
"Terror", from 1962. Intended to be the B Side of "One Cup Of Coffee", but the tape was lost and has still not appeared after 50 years.
"Sophisticated Psychedelication", from 1970. A Best Of The Wailers outtake that never came out.
"Lick It Back", from 1970. A self-pressed single that Bob never sold, but only gave copies of to friends. Extracts from it are circulating. The same goes for an early version of "High Tide Or Low Tide" from 1968, except that there aren't any extracts from this.
The 1968 recording of "Rock It Baby", which supposedly lies in the vaults somewhere.
The 1968 recordings of "Soul Shakedown Party" and "Soul Almighty", whose lyrics and tunes are supposedly quite different.
The 1968 recording "You Think I Have No Feelings", the vocals from which were used for a remix in the mid 90s, but the original version has never been released.
The 1968 recording of "One Love", that is listed on the tape titled Morely. All the other tracks from that have been released. It is not to be confused with the track "One Love, True Love", which is a demo.
The 1968 recordings of "It Hurts To Be Alone", "I'm Still Waiting", and "Lonesome Feelings", without the overdubs made in the 1980s.
Early versions of "She's Gone", the song itself dating back to 1972.
Protest Song: "War," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Get Up Stand Up," "Buffalo Soldier,"....
Rearrange the Song: As is common in reggae, Marley rerecorded many of his pre-Island songs in the 70s reggae style. He added completely new sections to "It's Alright" and renamed it "Night Shift". He also changed "One Love" from a ska song to a laidback reggae song. There are numerous other examples but these two particularly stand out.
Shout-Out: Frequently to Haile Selassie, including a translated version of a famous speech of his being the basis for "War". He also does a shout out to his children in the Exodus outtake version of "Keep On Moving" (the basis for the 1995 single remix).
"Punky Reggae Party" name-checks The Damned, The Jam, The Clash, Toots And The Maytals and Dr. Feelgood. Bob wrote it after realizing that punk and reggae share the same goal - speaking out against injustice.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: His songs were mostly on the idealistic side, encouraging people to treat each other equally. However, he was deeply cynical towards oppressors and usually encouraged people being persecuted to do whatever they could to stop it (as evidenced in the lyrics of "War," which are a translated Haile Selassie speech). However, his level of cynicism pales in comparison to his former band-mate Peter Tosh, who was so cynical it is one of his trademarks.
This caused posthumous problems for him: Because of his religion, he believed that planning for his death would hasten it, and thus never wrote a will. This resulted in record companies keeping a large amount of the money from his music rather than giving it to the people of Jamaica as he had wished.
According to his widow Rita, Bob's lawyers were so corrupt that they made Rita pay for all his debts, which meant she had to organize a lot of posthumous releases to make enough money. Hence why there are compilations like "Natural Mystic", "One Love" and "Africa Unite", remix albums, and various licensed products (such as rolling papers) that Bob would not have endorsed in his life time.
Last words: "Money can't buy life."
Small Reference Pools: Marley is still the most famous reggae singer. A downside of his fame to other reggae performers is that almost every reggae song known in existence has been attributed to him.
Smoking Is Cool: There are quite a number of pictures that depict him smoking a joint.
But not as many as Peter Tosh, who is seen smoking it in almost every photograph.
Legalize it, and I will advertise it!
Take That: Did this a lot in his songs, primarily against racial inequality and subjugation of blacks.
"Small Axe" has a direct one by Upsetter records, against Studio One, Federal and Treasure Isle, known as 'the big three'. In Jamaican patois the word 'three' is pronounced like 'tree', so the song is really saying 'Upsetter records is going to cut down all the other record companies by being better'. Lee 'Scratch' Perry, owner of Upsetter wrote the lyrics to this song, and was often known for filling his songs with biblical imagery and hidden meanings.
"Running Away" is a take that at people who accused Bob of "Running Away" from Jamaica after his attempted assassination. There are hints at his belief that the government were out to get him and that's why he wasn't going back. This is often forgotten with the laidback mood of the song, in which lines like "You must have done something you don't want nobody to know about" could be interpreted as some kind of kinky fetish lyric.
What Could Have Been: At one time he was considered for nomination as Jamaica's eighth National Hero. The idea was shot down very quickly.
These days he would easily win this place. He is the reason the general public has heard of Jamaica, and tourism off his image has stimulated the economy, which previously relied mainly on sugar and moderate amounts of tourism.
Working Title: It was common for a song to be titled one way on a single, then changed for the inclusion of the song on an album. "Baby Baby I've Got A Date" was "Rock It Babe", "Burnin' And Lootin'" was "Curfew", "Rastaman Chant" was "Chant I", "Rebel Music (3 O Clock Road Block)" was "Road Block". Bob used to continue to refer to these songs live under those names.