Bob Marley passed away at the Cedars Of Lebanon Hospital in Miami on May 11, 1981. His final words to his son Ziggy were “Money can’t buy life”.
In 1977, Marley was diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma; and died as a result of the illness in 1981.
Nesta Robert Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in rural St. Ann Parish, Jamaica, the son of a middle-aged white Jamaican Marine officer and an 18-year-old Black Jamaican girl. At the age of nine, Marley moved to Trench Town, a tough West Kingston ghetto where he would meet and befriend Neville “Bunny” Livingston (later Bunny Wailer) and Peter McIntosh (later Peter Tosh) and drop out of school at age 14 to make music.ý
A legendary singer, musician, and songwriter, Bob Marley was considered one of the pioneers of reggae. His musical career was marked by fusing elements of reggae, ska, and rocksteady, and of course his distinctive vocal and songwriting style.
Marley’s contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide, and made him a global figure in popular culture, even to this day.
Over the course of his career, Marley became known as a Rastafari icon, his music infused with a sense of spirituality. He is also considered a global symbol of Jamaican music and culture and identity, and was controversial in his outspoken support for democratic social reforms.
In 1976, Marley survived an assassination attempt in his home, which was thought to be politically motivated. He also supported legalization of marijuana, and advocated for Pan-Africanism.
The group released its debut studio album The Wailing Wailers in 1965, which contained the single “One Love“, a reworking of “People Get Ready“. The song was popular worldwide, and established the group as a rising figure in reggae.
The Wailers released a further eleven studio albums, and after signing to Island Records, the band’s name became Bob Marley and the Wailers.
The group began engaging in rhythmic-based song construction in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which coincided with Marley’s conversion to Rastafari.
Around this time, Marley relocated to London, and the group embodied their musical shift with the release of the album The Best of The Wailers (1971).
The group started to gain international attention after signing to Island, and touring in support of the albums Catch a Fire and Burnin’ (both 1973). Following the disbandment of the Wailers a year later, Marley carried on under the band’s name. The album Natty Dread (1974) received positive reception. In 1975, following the global popularity of Eric Clapton’s version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff“, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, with a live version of “No Woman, No Cry“, from the Live! album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which reached the Top 50 of the Billboard Soul Charts.