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That Marley Sound

Bob Marley was popular and well-known for his reggae style of music. His last concert was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City where he shared the bill with the popular funk band The Commodores. Just days after this most successful concert he collapsed in Central Park while jogging.

The diagnosis was tragic. A cancerous growth had started on an old soccer injury on his big toe. By this time cancer had already spread to his brain, liver, and lungs. This talented musician died eight months later on May 11, 1981, in Miami, Florida. He was only 36 years old.

Bob Marley came from St. Ann Parish in Jamaica. He became interested in music and in Trench Town, a rough West Kingston ghetto he and two friends Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh started to make music. At this time transistor radios were already available and they could listen to the sound of American music especially a mix of New Orleans style rhythm and blues.

The three friends became The Wailers and started performing just as reggae became the main sound of music in Jamaica. In the early 1970s, they became popular through Island Records. Their first two albums were Catch a Fire in 1972 and Burnin’ in 1973.

Tosh and Wailer left the group and Bob Marley took center stage himself. He came out with many albums among them Exodus in 1977. The album included the songs “Jamming”, “Waiting in Vain”, and “One Love/People Get Ready”. The album Kava in 1978 featured “Is This Love” and “Sun Is Shining” and Uprising in 1980 featured “Could You Be Loved” and “Redemption Song”.

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  1. Much of what you’ve written isn’t exactly true. Bob’s mother and Bunny’s father were ‘dere’ and the two were like brothers. Peter comes in later for he was in Westmoreland. They first recorded at Studio One.

    They had some hits and then the guy, Chris Blackwell came from Island Records. He said he just needed one star, and so it is Bob who left first.

    I actually knew them.

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      • Bob grew up in 9 miles St. Ann. His father was white, worked on the plantation. He married Rita, they had Bob, the marriage broke down, and Bob’s mother moved to Trench Town to Live with Bunny’s father.

        Where I lived in St. Thomas Bob and Rita had a house up in the scheme, north of where I am, but Bob used to hang out on the beach where I lived and built a house.

        At the time, if I went to the far south of my land and looked East, there was Bob’s house… we were ‘neighbours’ although about two foot ball pitches apart.

        The beach was called ‘Top Beach’ but now they call it Bob Marley Beach.

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        • I think that is great you lived like neighbors. That must be so beautiful to live in St, Thomas. I am glad to hear the beach was named in his honor. I live just a couple of blocks from a beach but in a resort town, it is not the same as a beach you would find on a tropical island.

          • When he was there it was a very unused deserted kind of a beach. Where I was the sea sort of plunged so it was manageable…where he was, there was a hook so if you went swimming in a certain spot, there was like a kind of undertow.

            If you know how to swim and you know what you are doing, you get caught, dive to the bottom and sort of semi crawl to where you can stand.

            If you don’t know, you kind of drown.

            Bob used to play foot ball with his brethren on that beach. They used to also hold ‘Binghis’ that was from the Niyibinghi Order of RastafarI. A religious service.

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  2. And you seemed to know that a little music helped me with this day as well! You are the lucky recipient of random comment number 126 “People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” – A. A. Milne

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