November 18, 2008
Bob Marley-A Legend
This paper will explore the life and musical steps of a true legend, Bob Marley. In 1944, British Captain Norval Marley married Cedalla Booker, an extremely young Jamaican girl. On February 6, 1945 at 2:30am she gave birth to Robert Nesta Marley on February, 6 1945, in northern Jamaica in a small town called, St. Ann, named Nine Miles. (White) Throughout Bob Marley's life his father was not there. The psychological aftermath of being an abandoned child of a biracial marriage was something that heavily influenced reggae superstar Bob Marley for his entire career. Many of Marley’s most loyal fans and the vast majority of reggae enthusiasts are unaware that he was, indeed, born to a white father, and a black mother. Bob Marley grew up angry with his father who he felt had mistreated him and his mother. Marley was also partially ashamed of his white heritage. This childhood mentality of resentment and embarrassment sculpted Marley’s youth and eventually influenced the ideals and work of his musical genius for his entire career. (Steckles) “My fadda was a guy yunno, from England here, yunno? Him was like…like you can read it yunno, it’s one o’dem slave stories: white guy get the black woman and breed her. He’s a English guy…I t’ink. Cos me see him one time yunno. My mother? My Mother African.” (Bob Marley, 1978) (Steckles) Marley and his mother moved to Kingston Jamaica (Trench town) when he was barley into his teens, and that is where he met his friend, Neville O'Riley Livingston, known as Bunny, this is who he first took his musical steps with. They were fascinated by the American music they could pick up on American radio stations. They loved listening to the sounds of artist such as, Ray Charles, Fat Domino, Curtis Mayfield, and Brook Benton. They also enjoyed the tunes of a black local group, The Drifters. (bobmarley.com) Marley eventually quit school and had only one ambition: music! He had a job in a welding shop; however all of Bunny and Marley's free time was spent perfecting their vocal abilities. The two boys would go into the tenement yards and have informal vocal lessons, and there is when they met another boy with a passion for music, and big musical ambitions, Peter McIntosh. In 1962, Bob Marley auditioned for a local music entrepreneur, Leslie Kong. He was impressed by Marley's vocals and he took Bob Marley and had him cut some tracks, from there Bob Marley recorded his first record, "Judge Not." Later on that year, Bob Marley wanted to form a group, so he met up with Bunny and Peter and they formed the group, "The Wailing Wailers." A Rastafarian drummer, Alvin Patterson introduced them to Clement Dodd, and loved their sound, and agreed to record them. Ska music was what was hot at that time. It was new hot dance music with a pronounced back-beat. The Wailing Wailers released their first single, "Slimmer Down," in late 1963. By January it was #1 on the Jamaican charts. (bobmarley.com) From there the group began to record regularly and began to find their own "nitch" they began to identify themselves with the Rude boys-street rebels in the Kingston slums. However, the economics of the group was not working, and some members quit the group. After that Marley met a girl named Rita Anderson and they married on February 10, 1966. Bob Marley grew drawn towards Rastafarian life. So, when he started recording again in 1967 his music began to reflect his new found beliefs. Rastafarian is a way of life and a religion. They are more about peace, and freedom. They are also vegetarians or vegan. His music illustrated his growing commitment to spiritual and social issues, and it was the cornerstone of his real legacy (bobmarley.com) Once again, Marley met up with Bunny and Peter to re-from the group, which they renamed, The Wailers. His wife also started a singing career. She had a hit with a song called, "Pied Piper." Jamaican...
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