While many know him as Bob Marley, the musician’s birth name was Nesta Robert Marley. Born on February 6, 1945, it did not take long for Marley to establish himself as one of the greatest Jamaican singer-songwriters of all time.
In the world of reggae music, there is nobody with more popularity than Marley. This is due in large part to his time spent with the group, Bob Marley and the Wailers.
In addition to helping spread Jamaican music from one side of the globe to the next, Marley has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide.
Despite the fact that many of his hit songs were related to social issues of his homeland, those from one side of the world to the next can identify with his music.
Bob Marley's Top Hits
Marley is well known for many singles. Here is a short list of some of his best selling and most popular:
- I Shot the Sheriff
- Could You Be Loved
- One Love
- No Woman, No Cry
- Get Up, Stand Up
- Redemption Song
- Buffalo Soldier
Although Marley was not around to see the album take off, Legend, released in 1984, is the best selling reggae album of all time. It has gone platinum 10 times, which holds the title of one Diamond in the United States. To date, more than 25 million copies have been sold.
Bob Marley and The Wailers
Despite the fact that Marley did not need the help of anybody to be a star, it was his time with the group, Bob Marley and The Wailers, that really turned him into one of music’s biggest acts.
In 1963, the group was formed. Along with Marley, other members included Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Cherry Smith, Beverley Kelso, and Junior Braitwaite. Before taking on this name, after being discovered by record producer Coxsone Dodd, the group was known as The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys, and the Wailing Wailers.
By 1966, there were only three members of the band left: Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh.
Everything was not smooth sailing for the group. In fact, 1972 saw them caught up in a bad deal with CBS Records. This is when the trio hooked up with Island Records and well known founder Chris Blackwell.
In April of 1973, the group released its first major label album known as Catch a Fire. With sales of 14,000 units, the group was not seen as a huge hit. That being said, this was more than enough to push Marley into the spotlight and allow people to realize that he was one of the up and coming stars of the music world.
Later that year, the group found itself on the right track with its next album, entitled Burnin’. This is included tracks such as I Shot the Sheriff and Get Up, Stand Up.
I Shot the Sheriff was covered in 1974 by Eric Clapton, helping bring more attention to Marley.
Unfortunately, the Wailers broke up in 1974 with each of the members going their own way in pursuit of a solo career. While nobody knows for sure what caused the breakup, many believe that the three were torn regarding its performances.
From 1974 through his death in 1981, Marley continued to record as the artist Bob Marley and the Wailers. This time around, however, he had a new backup band that was made up of Carlton Barrett, Aston Barrett, Junior Marvin, AL Anderson, Tyrone Downie, Earl Lindo and Alvin Patterson.
In 1975, Marley finally hit it big worldwide with the hit No Woman, NO Cry. Along with this, it only took another year for his album, Rastaman Vibration, to makes its way onto the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on this chart for four weeks.
Bob Marley’s Children
Marley has 11 children. This includes three with his wife Rita, two adopted children (from Rita’s previous relationships), and the rest with other women. The children who are known include:
During the summer of 1977, a form of melanoma was discovered under one of Marley’s toes. Despite being told by doctors it was best to amputate the toe, he decided against it due to religious beliefs
Even though he was ill, Marley continued to tour. However, by 1980 his health was taking a turn for the worse.
Marley’s final concern took place on September 23, 1980 at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
As the cancer spread, Marley visited Josef Issels where he received cancer therapy, known as Issels treatment, which is based largely on the avoidance of particular food and drinks. After eight months of treatment, and no success, he boarded a plane for Jamaica.
On the flight from Germany to Jamaica, his condition worsened. Upon landing in Miami and being taken to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, now known as University of Miami Hospital, he passed away.
Marley died on May 11, 1981 at the age of 36.