Robert Nesta Marley was born on the 6th February 1945 to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedelia Booker in Nine Mile, Saint Ann, Jamaica. Norval Marley was a British Jamaican and his mother, Cedelia Booker was an Afro-Jamican. They planned to get married but Norval left Kingston before this could happen. Bob attended Stepney Primary School and Junior High School in Saint Ann and when he was just 10 years old in 1955, his father, Norval Marley died of a heart attack at the age of 70. Bob’s mother went on to marry Edward Booker, an American civil servant. The marriage produced bob’s two brothers, Richard and Anthony.
Bob Marley started his musical career in 1963, with the wailers, a group he formed with Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston and in the February of 1966, Bob Marley married Rita Marley and she subsequently introduced him to Rastafarianism. By 1969, Bob Marley and all other members of the wailers had fully embraced Rastafarianism, which greatly influenced their music and the reggae music in general. The wailers did collaborations with Lee Scratch Perry, resulting in hit songs like “Soul Rebel”, “Duppy Conquerer”, “400 years” and “Small Axe”. But despite the success of these songs, Perry and the Wailers relationship ended abruptly when the wailers discovered that Perry has claimed the songs to be his and sold them in England without their consent. This crisis at that time brought the wailer’s music to the notice of Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Music.
Blackwell signed the wailers to his record label and produced their first album, “Catch a Fire“. Their second album, “Burnin”, followed suit and contained tracks like “Get Up Stand Up” and “I Shot the Sheriff.” Tosh and Livingston left the wailers to start their solo careers in 1974. When they left, Bob formed the band “Bob Marley and the Wailers”, with his wife as one of the three backup singers the band had, called I-Trees. The band produced several hit albums like “Natty Dread” and “Rastaman Vibration.”
During a period of political violence in 1976, an attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life that prompted him to move to England, where he lived in self-exiled for two years. While in England, “Exodus” was produced, and it remained on the British charts for 56 straight weeks. Bob and his band released another album, “Kaya”, which was also successful. These successes catapulted him to international prominence and limelight.
In 1977, Bob Marley, visited a doctor when he noticed that a wound in one of his toes would not heal. Doctors conducted tests and found out that it was cancer and offer to cut off that toe, but Bob Marley refused, saying it was against his Rastafarian belief. The cancer was kept a secret from the public while Bob continued with his musical career.
In 1978, Bob Marley returned to Jamaica and released “Survival” in 1979 and followed through with a European tour. In 1980, he was invited to perform at the independence celebration of Zimbabwe as the only foreign artist. Bob was recording incredible successes in his musical career, so he started an American tour. He played two shows at Madison Square Garden, but he collapsed while jogging in New York City’ Central Park on September 21, 1980. The cancer diagnosed earlier had spread to his lung, brain and stomach. Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on May 11, 1981.