Thesis Statement: Bob Marleys life affected his writing and contributed to the development of his poetry.Bob Marley is without a doubt the greatest musician a third world country ever produced.Through Rastafari ideas, he influenced many others with songs that touched the lives of millions with his constant message of unity. His wisdom through experience helped him achieve a grand distinction over other artists.In the year 1944, Captain Norvol Marley, a middle-aged white marine officer, married a young Jamaican girl named Cedilla Booker.
On February 6, 1945 at two thirty in the morning their son, Robert Nesta Marley, otherwise known as Bob Marley was born in his grandfathers house (The Story). Soon after Bob was born his father left his mother. Bobs Father did, however give financial support and occasionally arranged to see his son. It was now the late fifties and jobs were scarce in Jamaica. Bob followed his mother from their home in St.
Ann to Trenchtown (West Kingston) to seek employment in the big city.Trenchtown got its name because it was built over a ditch, which drained the sewage of old, Kingston. In Trenchtown Bob spent a lot of his time with his good friend Neville Livingston, who people called by his nickname, Bunny. He began to attend a music class with Bunny, which was held by the famous Jamaican singer Joe Higgs.
In that class they met Peter Macintosh and soon became good friends. When Bob was 16, he started to follow his dream of becoming a musician. According to Michael Anderson, Music to many young Jamaicans was an escape from the harshness of everyday life (Anderson, 1). Bobs life looked brighter on February 10, 1966 when he married girlfriend Rita Anderson. Rita gave birth to their first born whom they named Cedilla. Stephen, Sharon, and Ziggy then followed Cedilla. Bob Marley had quite a massive rsum for his artistic career.
It first started when he met Jimmy Cliff, who at the age of 14 had already recorded a couple of hit songs. After meeting Bob, Jimmy introduced him to Leslie Kong, a local record producer. Bob followed his advice and auditioned for Leslie Kong (Lieblich, 7). Bobs musical talents shone much more brightly than anyone else that day and found him in the studio recording his first single Judge Not. Unfortunately neither Judge Not nor his 1962 single One More Cup of Coffee did very well (The Story).
Bob soon left Kong after she failed to give him his pay.The following year Bob, Bunny and some other friends formed the Wailing Wailers. The band was introduced to Clemet Dodd, a producer of the record company, Coxsone. It was here where the Wailing Wailers recorded the first song Simmer Down which did quite well in Jamaica. To help with the recording of their songs the studio provided several talented Ska musicians. The Wailing Wailers were consisting now of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny who were starting to become quite popular locally. Their audiences rapidly grew and they recorded several more songs on the Coxsone label, which included It Hurts To Be Alone and Rule the Roadie.
Bob soon took on the role of the leader, being the main songwriter.The next day after his marriage Bob left for the United States to visit his mother who lived in Delaware. While in North America he worked to better finance his music and soon returned home. When Bob Marley returned the Wailing Wailers music evolved from Ska to Rock Steady.
This evolution conflicted with Coxsone who wanted a Sim band. So the new Wailing Wailers left Coxsone to form and renamed themselves the Wailers. Instead of looking around for a new label the Wailers decided to form their own which they called Wail n Soul. They released a couple singles on their label such as Bend Down Low and Mellow Mood before Wail n Soul folded the very same year.
The ending of their label affected the band greatly; it wasnt until they met Lee Perry that they got back on track. With the help of Lee Perry and the Wailers produced such great tracks as Duppy Conqueror, Soul Rebel, 400 Years and Small Axe. The Wailers were now quite popular throughout the Caribbean but still internationally unknown. With this popularity the Wailers called Tuff Gong after a nickname of Bob Marley formed a second more successful label. The Wailers met Johnny Nash and soon Bob accompanied Nash to Sweden and London. When in London, Bob recorded Reggae on Broadway which was released by CBS. After this the rest of the Wailers arrived in London to help promote the single only to find that there were out of money and stranded there.
With little options available, Bob went into the Island Records Basing Street Studios and asked to speak to the boss, Chris Blackwell with hopes of a possible record deal. Mr. Blackwell had already heard of the Wailers and signed them on the spot. He advanced them eight thousand pounds so that they could fly back home and record their first album. This was a massive deal, for the first time a reggae band would have access to the finest recording facilities.The album they released was Catch a Fire; it was very well received by critics and was one of the first reggae albums.
Before the Wailers reggae was sold on signals or compilation albums. In the spring of 1973 the Wailers arrived back in London to kick off their three-month tour of Britain. At the conclusion of the tour they returned back to Jamaica where Bunny decided to quit touring to spend more time with his family. Joe Higgs replaced him.
The Wailers along with Higgs traveled to North America were they were scheduled to open 17 shows for the number one black act in the States, Sly and the Family Stone. The Wailers were fired after 4 shows because they were more popular than they band they opened for, the crowd often chanted Wailers well into the Sly and the Family Stone set. They also opened on occasion for Bruce Springsteen.
After Sly and the Family Stone axed the Wailers they found themselves once again without money and stranded, this time in Las Vegas.Somehow they found their way to San Francisco. While there they did a live concert broadcast for the radio station KSAN-FM. The whole experience boosted their popularity in North America. With 1973 winding down the Wailers released the much-anticipated follow up album to Catch a Fire called Bumming.
On this album many Wailer classics appear such as I Shot the Sheriff and Get Up Stand Up. The Wailers popularity in North America grew even more when Eric Clapton re-recorded I Shot the Sheriff, becoming a number one hit on the US singles charts. 1975 saw the release of the Wailers third album, Natty Dread with such great tracks as Talking Blues, No Woman No Cry and Revolution. On the down side two thirds of the original Wailing Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer quit the band to pursue solo careers. This caused the band to change their name again and this time to Bob Marley and the Wailers.
The departure of the two members created a hole in the backing vocal section, this hole was filled and then some by the I-Threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatts and Marcia Griffiths). That summer the band started a new European tour. Two of those shows were at the Lyceum Ballroom, both shows were considered among the top of the decade. Both shows were recorded and made the album Live! which included the unforgettable live version No Woman No Cry which was a worldwide hit.The last time the original Wailers ever played together was at a Stevie Wonder concert for the Jamaican Institute for the Blind.Bob Marley and the Wailers continued their roll releasing the incredible album Rasta man Vibration in 1976. This capped off a type of Reggae-Mania happening in the states.
Rolling Stone named them Band of the Year. On the Rasta Man Vibration album was the powerful track War which lyrics came from a speech given by Emperor Haile Selassie. Bob Marley decided to play a free concert at Kingstons National Heroes Park on December 5, 1976. The idea behind the concert was a peaceful message against the ghetto wars happening in Trenchtown at the time.Tragedy struck two days before he went on stage; gunman broke into the Marley home and shot at Bob, Rita, and two friends. Luckily no one was killed. Despite this Bob Marley went on to put on a memorable show two days later at the Smile Jamaica concert.
Following the show the band left for the United Kingdom. While they were there they recorded 1977s Exodus. It went to the top of the charts in many countries including England and Germany. It was also one of the top albums of the year.
During their European tour, the band did a week of shows at the Rainbow Theatre in London. It was at the start of the tour when Bob injured his toe playing football. It was later diagnosed as cancerous.Also during this tour Bob received a very important ring, whose previous owner was the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie. In May Bob was informed of his cancer. His cancer would most certainly be taken care of by amputating the toe, but Bob refused.
To do so would be against his Rastafarian faith. With this news the remainder of the Exodus tour was cancelled. His illness didnt prevent him from recording music though, 1978 saw the release of Kaya which had a much more mellow sound then previous albums. For the first time he visited Africa going to Kenya and Ethiopia. On this trip he started to work on the song Zimbabwe. The band also released their second live album Babylon by Bus which was recorded in Paris.
The album that followed it was Survival in 1978. Throughout the album the theme of black survival was evident. In April 1978, Bob returned to Jamaica to play the One Love Peace Concert.
In attendance were Jamaican President Michael Manley and the leader of the Opposition Edward Seaga. It was Bob who got them on stage and even got them to shake hands. On June 15 he was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations. The Seventies were now coming to a close, Bob Marley and the Wailers were the most popular band on the road breaking many festival records. In 1980 the band went back to Africa to perform in Africa for the first time, in Gabon. The Zimbabwean government invited the whole band to perform at the countries independence Ceremony in April. Bob later said of the invitation to be the biggest honor of his life.
After the amazing honor and experience Bob Marley continue to record, Uprising was released in 1980. Everything was looking bright; the band was planning an American tour with Stevie Wonder for that winter. Bobs health was deteriorating, but he still got clearance from a doctor to go on the road. The tour started with Boston, followed by New York.
During the New York show, Bob looked very sick and almost fainted. The next morning on Sept. 21 while jogging through Central Park, Bob collapsed and was brought to the hospital. There a brain tumor was discovered and doctors gave him a month to live. Rita wanted the tour cancelled but Bob wanted to continue on.
He played an unforgettable show in Pittsburgh, but was too ill to continue so the tour was finally cancelled. It would be the last show he ever performed. Treatment prolonged his life somewhat but the inevitable was soon to happen. Bob was transported to a Miami hospital where he was baptized Berhane Selassie in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church on November 4. In a final attempt to save his life he underwent a controversial treatment in Germany.
While in Germany he celebrated his 36th and final birthday. Ultimately the treatment didnt work. Bob wanted to die at home in Jamaica so he was flown back. Unfortunately he didnt finish the trip; he died on May 11, 1981 in a Miami hospital.
He was internationally mourned for and thousands showed up at his May 21 funeral to show their respects. In attendance were both the Jamaican President and the Leader of the Opposition. The Jamaican President gave the following speech at Bobs funeral: His message was protest against injustice, a comfort for the oppressed. He stood there, performed there, his message reached there and everywhere.
Todays funeral service is an international fight of a native son. He was born in a humble cottage nine miles from Alexandrea in the parish of St. Ann. He lived in the western section of Kingston as a boy where he joined in the struggle of the ghetto. He learned the message of survival in his boyhood days in Kingstons West End.
But it was his raw talent, unswerving discipline and sheer perseverance that transported him from just another victim of the ghetto to the top-ranking superstar in the entertainment industry of the third world (Sisano, 3). Bob Marley now rests in a mausoleum at his birthplace. After his death he was awarded Jamaicas Order of Merit. The Prophet Gad insisted on becoming the owner of Bobs ring.
However, amazingly the ring disappeared and has yet to be found. Bobs mother contends that the ring was returned to its place of origin. In the big city of Trentchtown, earlier artists like Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Curtis Mayfield influenced Bob. All of whom he heard while picking up American stations on his radio in Jamaica. Growing up in the condition in which Marley did contributed to his success. According to Chris Salewicz: The cauldron of Trenchtown epitomized one of the great cultural truths about Jamaica and other impoverished Third World countries; how those who have nothing and therefore nothing to lose, are not afraid to express their talents.
These people seem to have pride and confidence in their talents a pride and confidence that western educational system seem to conspire against (Salewicz, 1). The transition from ska to rock steady music made a difference in the instruments he used and affected how he made his music. This was such a big difference that he had to change his label. The roots, beliefs and practices of Rastafarians are evident in Bob Marleys music and philosophy. In fact, he was accused of selling out because he sang about marijuana.
Rastafarians believed that smoking the holy herb would bring them closer to Jah (god).Marley received and nevertheless, receives a great deal of affirmative approbation. An example of his many commendations was said by Timothy White, a critic of Jamaican and Reggae music he states: They want a leader who neednt run for office, so long as he has the integrity to fulfill his true destiny. They need a person with the courage to act on hope, a role model whose own voice is the mirror of his conscience. And if that person ever comes, he will be the next Bob Marley(Lieblich, 7).Rarely can one find an objectionable opinion about Bob Marley. Likewise, one atypical critic is Ken Boothe of Rolling Stone he says:The most common criticism of the legend of Marley is that it was a fabrication fostered by the commercial interests of Island Records, that the image of Bob as a Christ-like “prophet with dreadlocks” was a story carefully crafted by producer Chris Blackwell.
The Island marketing team clearly did well at packaging Marley-as-reggae-deity for a rock audience that relied so much on hero worship. The Wailers originally were a singing and songwriting group, an ensemble in which Bob was on relatively equal level with members like Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Blackwell was the first to single Bob out as the best singer and songwriter and place his name prominently at the top of the billing.
More serious criticism also suggests that Marley was more packageable because of his mixed race and lighter skin tone(Mirkin, 1).The type of songs he wrote dealt with his Rastafarian beliefs. The theme of the song or the subject of Marleys songs summed up in a word is usually his topic, for example; Africa Unite: wanted his people to unite in Africa, No Woman No Cry: tells a woman not to cry and things will be all right.
Marley always has a strong theme mostly dealing with his Rasta beliefs; most of his themes involve getting together and uniting to be stronger.Marleys unique technique is stating his main message in a repeated chorus or a line that is hard to forget. He was sporadic in his use of rhyme schemes.The song Exodus comprises of eleven stanzas, chorus with five lines, and four-line stanzas. He establishes a rhyme scheme by rhyming at the end of the lines. The central message was a vision of a glorious end to the suffering of all Jahs people. The topic being discussed, or the theme is to open your eyes and depart from Babylon (the western world).
Bob Marley sings this song slow and mellow at first but gets louder and urges the listener with his tone. He uses words that make the listener think the song refers to them. He uses simple grammar so everyone can understand him and a change in the level of his voice to get his message across.
His Rastafarian ideas influenced him to write this song, the Rastafarian belief that all Jahs people should move back to the motherland.The incredible legend of Bob Marley nevertheless, still survives today. He used his ideas and beliefs not to create but to solve problems. The life he lived as a Rasta allowed him to generate songs that are treasured significantly. It has always been said legends never die and with such musical genius, Bob Marleys legend will live on. BIBLIOGRAPHYHauler, Joe. Bob Marley Biography.
MSN Search. Online. Available Online.
3 Nov. 2001. Available at http:/www.
Beyond Dreads, To Roots of Rastafari, Star Tribune, B 7, August 15, 1998.Marley, Rita. Remembering Bob Marley, Essence. 16: 18, February 1, 1995.Michael Anderson.
The Biggest Tribute To Bob Marley. Lycos. 20 Mar. 1998. Online.
America Online. 4 Nov. 2001. Available at http:/www.thirdfield.com/.Mirkin, Steve.
Roots Rock Reggae, Rolling Stone. 24: 13, April 15, 1998.Salewicz Chris. American Music 50s Rhythm and blues Influence Bob Marley: Google. Online.
Internet. 1995. Available at http:/www.bobmarley.com/life/musical/influences/Americanmusic/index.html.
Sisano, Ben. All-Star Tribute To Jamaicas Native Son, New York Times, III 55, December 19, 1999.The Story. Chicago: Thames and Hudson, 1996.