Music Diary – 6th February

Welcome to my Music Diary – today for the 6th February!

Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley (6th February 1945 – 11th May 1981)

Robert Nesta „Bob“ Marley (6th February 1945 – 11th May 1981)

Happy birthday to Mr. Robert Nesta „Bob“ Marley, who was born on the 6th February 1945 in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica!

With his friend Neville Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer), Bob started to play music and listened a lot to American radio shows. The two teenagers moved to Trenchtown, Kingston, where they met singer Joe Higgs, who was part of the successful vocal act Higgs and Wilson. Joe taught them to develop their vocal harmonies and he also started to teach Bob Marley playing the guitar.

In February 1962, Bob recorded his first songs at Federal Studio and one year later, he founded his band The Teenagers featuring Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith. The name was changed into The Wailing Rudeboys, then into The Wailing Wailers and later they named themselves finally The Wailers. And with the single „Simmer Down“ they had their first number one hit in Jamaica in 1964. The debut album „The Wailing Wailers“ followed in 1965.

After he married Rita Anderson and a short stay in the USA, Bob Marley became a Rastafari with long dreadlocks. In December 1970, Bob Marley & The Wailers released the album „Soul Rebels„, which was also available outside Jamaica. Before Bob was signed by Island Records, the LPs „Soul Revolution“ and „The Best of The Wailers“ (both 1971) were released. After touring and recording in the UK, the legendary Reggae album „Catch a Fire“ hit the stores in April 1973. A few months later, in October, the album „Burnin‘“ (which included the song „I Shot the Sheriff„) was released. Eric Clapton’s cover version of „I Shot the Sheriff“ became also a big hit all around the world.

In 1974, the Wailers broke up and Bob Marley put a new backing band together which included brothers Carlton and Aston „Family Man“ Barrett on drums and bass, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson (guitars), Tyrone Downie and Earl „Wya“ Lindo on keyboards and Alvin „Seeco“ Patterson on percussion. Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Marley’s wife Rita became the backing singers. With the new line-up, the album „Natty Dread“ (featuring the hit „No Woman, No Cry„) was recorded, followed by „Rastaman Vibration“ (1976).

On 3rd December 1976, two days before „Smile Jamaica“ (a free concert in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups) took place, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley’s home. Nonetheless, an injured Bob Marley performed in front of 80,000 people. In 1976, Marley left Jamaica and spent two years in England, where he recorded the two milestones „Exodus“ (1977) and „Kaya“ (1978). While Bob Marley returned to Jamaica, the double live set „Babylon by Bus“ (recorded in Paris and London 1978) hit the market.

In 1979, the politically charged album „Survival“ was released. And one year later, Marley’s final studio recording „Uprising“ followed. At this time, Bob Marley became serious sick and he received a special cancer therapy in Germany. After eight months he boarded a plane to Jamaica. During the flight, his vital functions worsened and after landing in Miami (Florida), he was taken to hospital. On the 11th May 1981, Bob Marley died at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami at the age of only 36 years. On the 23rd May 1983 the album „Confrontation„, which contained unreleased material, was released posthumously.

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