Bob Marley: From rural Jamaica to musical superstardom

A day like today 78 years old was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, a boy named Robert Nesta Marley, who would eventually become a music star, the first third world superstar, with an enduring legacy.

He was the son of a British sailor who worked for the island's government., of some 60 years - although no one knew for sure- called Norval Marley and a young teenager named Cedella Booker, who works in the fields of Nine Mile.

As a result of this union, Bob became mulatto (mestizo) Y, somehow, repudiated by both blacks and whites. This situation made him shape his character from a very young age., so I used to say that: 

“My father is white and my mother is black. They call me mestizo or whatever. Bueno, I'm not on anyone's side. I'm not on the side of black people or on the side of white people.. I am on God's side, who created me and who made me come from black and white”

Bob Marley

A special child

For all who knew him, Since he was little Bob was special. It is said that as a child he had the ability to read the future in the palms of his hands and he scared people because he was right., and he also prophesied that he would be a singer when he grew up.

That future began to be forged when he moved with his mother and family from the rural area to the capital Kingston., specifically to Trenchtown, a very poor neighborhood similar to our camps, where with his half brother Neville Livingstone, better known as Bunny – even without the nickname Wailer- started getting closer to music.

His love for music became so great that he left his studies and threw himself into a musical career., although the road was not without problems.

On this journey he met Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh), a young man with musical knowledge, who helped the other two improve.

Between the three of them they saw American vocal groups as role models., because they were fashionable at that time in Jamaica, end of the years 50 and early 60.

The beginning of success

That is how Bob, Bunny and Peter form the trio The Wailers, who after many trials, even playing in cemeteries to lose the fear of stages, in 1962 They get their first hit in Jamaica with the ska rhythm song “Simmer Down”, with which they reached number one in the rankings.

It is important to understand the context on the island, well that same 1962 It was the year of independence from the United Kingdom and ska was a musical style created in Jamaica that helped forge the identity and pride of this nation from its beginnings., being a success among its inhabitants.

From there The Wailers had multiple hits in Jamaica and as the years 70 obviously its internationalization began with the albums Catch a Fire Y Burnin’.

In the 70′ events occurred at an impressive speed in just less than a decade: her separation with Bunny and Peter and the beginning of her solo career; international tours; essential albums; global hits and, Unfortunately, his death on 11 May 1981 product of melanoma metastasis, a type of cancer that light-skinned people are more likely to suffer from, although darker-skinned people have a higher risk of dying.

immortal figure

After his death, The figure of Bob Marley became eternal and is not a cliché, Its significance is universal and continues over time despite the fact that there are already more than 40 years without his earthly presence.

As a young man he approached the Rastafari faith through Mortimmer Planno, one of Jamaica's main Rastas leaders, who taught him about Haile Selassie and his divinity and to this militancy Bob put all his capacity, his poetry and talent to create revolutionary songs with his sights always on Africa.

It's just that his music has that quality that not many can boast about, which is that do not have time and in turn highlighted third world problems, what he saw in trenchtown, what people experience everywhere, in those times, and that are also lived today.

He sang about poverty, hunger, social injustice, the violence, but also about faith, the social awareness, personal awakening, freedom and hope for a better world.

His song was tremendously political - without being partisan- in the era of the cold war, when the United States and the Soviet Union had divided the world. “Nor capitalist, nor a Marxist”, once said.

“One Love” It is a hymn to peace, “Redeption Song”, a hymn to freedom, “No Woman, No Cry”, that shows social injustices, something similar to “I Shot The Sheriff” and we could continue forever finding new things in his immense musical legacy.

A legacy that is reflected in this dialogue during an interview with a British journalist about wealth, that ended up being a prophecy:

P: Have you made a lot of money from music?

BM: Money? How much money is too much for you?

P: Good question, have you won?, Let's say, millions of dollars?

BM: No

P: are you rich?

BM: What do you mean when you say 'rich'??

P: Do you have many possessions, a lot of money in the bank?

BM: Do possessions make you rich? I don't have that kind of wealth. My wealth is life, forever.

Indeed, Bob Marley lives forever, live foriva.