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10 Fascinating Facts About Bob Marley You Probably Didn’t Know

Marley is one of the world’s most famous music icons who not only wowed people with his magical voice but also passed across essential messages through his music. Marley was born as Robert Nesta Marley on February 6, 1945, in St Ann Parish, Jamaica to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Booker. While growing up, Marley attended Stepney primary and junior secondary school in Jamaica. It is at Stepney that Marley developed interests in a musical career. At the age of ten Marley lost his father who at the time was seventy years old. Marley was born when his mother was eighteen years old, and his father was sixty years old. Marley never had the opportunity to grow up with his father as he was always away but always catered for Bob and his mother. Marley’s mother later remarried to Edward Booker, the father to Neville Livingston famously known as Bunny Wailer.

Marley’s friendship with Bunny Wailer started long before while they were still kids. They grew up together in Trench town of Kingston. The duo followed their passion for music and formed a small vocal group. As the group grew, Marley acquired excellent guitar skills from the vocal group member Higgs. This became the genesis to Marley’s great musical career. Originally, Marley was born a Christian, but during the early sixties, he developed interests in the Rastafarian movement which at that time was a popular type of religion in Jamaica. This led Marley to grow dreadlocks on his head as the Rastafarian beliefs meant no alteration of one’s body. Marley lived a great life and is famously celebrated around the world for his excellent reggae music. Though Marley is dead, his music continues to be air played widely from generation to generation. Below are the top ten fascinating facts about Bob Marley that will blow up your mind.[1]

Marley Grew Up in Rural Areas

As hard as it is to believe, Bob Marley grew up in rural areas of Jamaica. Born on the farms of his grandfather, Marley grew up like any other kids. His early life lacked the luxury of living in high-end places. None the less he enjoyed the terrains of Nine Miles. Nine miles was well known as one of the areas with the highest number of black Americans. Marley’s mother herself was of African origins. Even though Bob Marley’s father was a white English man, Bob often associated himself as a black American. The early life in the rural areas of Nine Miles instilled high values that shaped up his musical career. The community regarded and held high the traditions of storytelling as a way of reminding themselves of the past while focusing on the future. During his musical career, Marley used proverbs and quotes to convey his messages. His last quote before he died was “money can’t buy life.”[2]

Skilled Footballer

This one of the facts rare talked about when referring to Bob Marley. Aside from the fact that he is the most famous, iconic and musical legend, Bob Marley was the best in the football pitch. Bob Marley loved football and would use any available opportunity to play. He would play football after rehearsals and before performing in any concert. He would practically not sign and performance contract that didn’t have an allocation of a football pitch. Bob has once described football as freedom and a whole universe. His band members told of how challenging it was to take the ball from Bob. The Wailers’ even nicknamed him the skipper because of his prowess when it comes to dribbling the ball. His love for football propelled him to appoint Allan skill Cole who is famously known as the Former Jamaican international footballer as his tour manager.[3]

Nicknamed Tuff Gong

In his teenage age in late 1950s, Bob Marley left the rural areas of Nine Miles for Trench town in Kingston Jamaica. Trench town was known as the slum areas of Kingston build on a sewage trench hence the name Trench Town. The life in this small town was harsh for Marley and was forced to learn fighting skills to defend himself against the bad boys and men of trench town. These excellent fighting skills earned him the nickname; Tuff GongThe poor living conditions did not shatter his dreams of being a music legend. He went an extra mile against all the odds to form a vocal group in the small town and become an inspiration to the youth in the area of Trench Town. Bob Marley later in his life adopted and used the Name Tuff Gong for his many businesses including Tuff Gong the record label. This is the most prominent recording studio in Kingston Jamaica.[4]

His Journey to Africa

In the year 1978, Marley made his epic journey to the Rastafarians spiritual land. During his trip, he stopped over in Kenya and later headed to Ethiopia in Africa where he spent his entire time touring places relevant to the Rastafarian religion in Ethiopia. He stayed in a Rastafarian community in Ethiopia. According to the Rastafarian religion, His majesty emperor Haile Selassie I, is highly respected and loved by the Rastafarians. Any visit to the Ethiopian land meant strong attachment to the Rastafarian religion. On November 4, 1980, a few months before his death, Marley was baptized by Archbishop Abuna Yasehaq into the Ethiopian Orthodox church and given the baptismal name, Berhane Selassie. When Emperor Selassie visited Jamaica on April 21, 1966, Bob was on a music tour and missed the opportunity to welcome his Majesty. However, his wife Rita was there, and she fully converted into a Rastafarian after seeing him in his motorcade.[5]

Marley’s Birthday Celebrations

This is also one of the tiny bits you probably didn’t know about Bob Marley. Being the legendary musician he is, Bob Marley’s birthdays are still celebrated all over the world although he is dead. February six every year Rastafarians especially commemorate his birthday to honor his excellent work as a Rastafarian and a mighty reggae musician. The people of Koh Lipe in Thailand have set aside three days of pure celebration of Marley’s Birthday. Also in Australia, the aboriginal group observes February 6 as a way of celebrating the peace treaty signed between them and the European settlers. When Marley toured the country on February 6, he was given a dignitary welcome by the Aboriginal group.[6]

Bob Marley & Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans much acknowledge Bob Marley for his support towards their independence. During the peak of Marley’s musical career, Zimbabwe then the Rhodesian land was fighting for its freedom. The guerrilla forces in Zimbabwe adored and played Marley’s music in their hideouts. The fighters loved Marley’s personality of identifying himself with the blacks. And two weeks before Zimbabwe’s Independence Day celebrations, Job Kadengu a businessman and Gordon Muchanyuka flew to Kingston Jamaica to officially invite Bob Marley to grace their essential day in Zimbabwe. To add, the Zimbabweans adopted the red, golden and green flag and opened the ceremony acknowledging Bob Marley and his grew music that inspired the Guerilla solders to solder their way to victory. The number of people who had come to witness Bob Marley perform live was uncontrollable and forced the police to use tear gas to sparse them away. Despite the chaos, he managed to play “Zimbabwe” stressing the need to embrace unity.[7]

Bob Marley & Rastafarian Beliefs

Bob Marley was born a Catholic. However, while growing up, he actively developed interests in the Rastafarian religion which as widely practiced in Jamaica. After leaving Nine Miles for Kingston, he slowly abandoned Christianity which was instilled in him by his mother and adopted the Rastafarian Religion. This was evident as Marley began growing his hair and wore dreadlocks. One of the Rastafarians believes is that no Rastaman should alter his body including shaving hair. After his marriage to Rita who was a devout Rastafarian, Marley’s believe in the religion strengthened even more. He subsequently curved his musical career towards the Rastafarian movement, and people around the world regarded him as a prophet. Bob Marley was later baptized into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as a Rastafarian and given the name Berhane Selassie.[8]

His Love for the Herb

“Herb” is a word used by the Rastafarians to refer to marijuana. Rastafarians highly regard the herb as a holy sacrament to be taken only for medicinal purposes. Bob Marley like his fellow members adored the herb. He would describe it as a healing plant that had magical healing powers to the mind and soul. Bob Marley strongly advocated for the legalization of marijuana consumption but warned people against using it for recreational purposes. In 1968, Bob Marley found himself at arms way when he was arrested for having cannabis. However, he continued using it following the Rastafarian beliefs.[9]

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

When you think about reggae, Bob Marley automatically comes into the picture. This is because his music resonated well with the audience and his consistent sweet voice coherently delivered the message. However short his musical career was, Bob Marley touched millions of people around the globe. His songs like “Buffalo Soldier” reminded people to embrace their history and their culture. For this reason, Marley was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. This was thirteen years after his death. Rock and Roll hall of fame is situated in Ohio in the United States and serves as a center where great musicians, artists, legends and notable figure’s histories are acknowledged and archived. Among other notable awards to Bob Marley are; 1999 album of the century for the exodus, “one love” as the song of the millennium by the BBC, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame in February 2001 among many others.[10]

Bob Marley’s First Award

Bob Marley has for sure backed himself numerous awards for his fantastic reggae music. But one thing remains for sure, his first award as much as it is not mentioned frequently is one of his greatest achievements. In 1976, Bob Marley together with his musical Band the wailer was awarded the band of the year by the Rolling Stone Magazine. This motivated Marley and the group to propel higher. The song exodus which he wrote while in London on exile topped the British charts for more than a year! The song “No Woman, No Cry” became Bob Marley’s major song breakthrough which earned him fame among the international audience.[11]

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