Bob Marley would have turned 74-years-old today.
The talented Reggae musician is credited for changing the genre and affecting change the world over with the message of peace, love, and unity. Born into poverty in Jamaica’s St. Anne Parish, Marley had humble beginnings that propelled him to success. 38 years after his death, the “Easy Skankin” crooner is now worth $130M, about four times what he was worth when he died. With quite a legacy to his name, the father to eleven has transcended language, race and time with his music finding appreciation from people from different backgrounds, across generations.
Here is a few things you may have not known about Robert Nesta Marley:
1. Robert Marley might have more than 11 children.
According to reports, Bob Marley might have more than 11 children. The Rastafarian believed children were a gift from God and advocated for the power of recreation. Although there are only 11 recognized children of Nesta, there might be more. According to research, Marley had Imani Carole Marley in 1963 with Cheryl Murray before getting married to Rita Marley in 1966. There are also claims that he also had Makeda Jahnesta with Yvette Crichton. She was born on 30 May 1981 days after Marley’s death on 11th May 1981. Both children Imani and Makeda are not recognized in the official Bob Marley site.
2. Robert Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios is a sanctuary for reggae music.
Dubbed after Marley’s nickname, the Tuff Gong studios in 1965. According to the official Tuff Gong site, “the studio was originally based on Orange Street before moving to 56 Hope Road, which is now the home of the Bob Marley Museum, The Bob Marley Theatre, The Queen of Sheba Restaurant and Things from Africa Boutique.” Marley’s business continues to use the nickname as branding to keep his spirit alive. The studios were the space within which some of his most popular tracks including “Redemption Song,” “Stir It Up” and “No Woman No Cry” were mastered. Some of the more contemporary artists to perform in the sacred space include Chronixx, Clapton, Tarrus Riley, Gyptian, Mr. Vegas, and Khago.
3. Bob Marley was aware of his enemies but choose peace.
Although many may think that Bob Marley did not have any enemies, his life’s story indicated the contrary. Nesta was an enemy of the state due to the message of peace and unity that he preached. He was also closely monitored by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation due to his alternative rhetoric as well as his lofty position between the 2 warring factions in Jamaican politics. Marley was shot in his Kingston home on 56 Hope Road on the night of December 3rd, 1976. According to Rolling Stone, Roger Steffens recounted “Bob’s life came within inches of ending on December 3, 1976, when a carload of assassins drove into a suddenly unguarded Tuff Gong at 56 Hope Road and opened fire on everyone in sight. The Smile Jamaica concert, headlined by Marley, was to take place two nights later, and the atmosphere in the city was tense and filled with violence.”
To the shock of close friends, he later confessed that he was familiar with the perpetrator. For reasons only known to the “Buffalo Soldier” crooner, he did not reveal his shooter’s identity to the authorities, but he remained vigilant. He soon left Jamaica after the harrowing shooting in December 1976 for England, to return in 1978 for the One Love Concert.
4. Bob Marley was used as a pawn in Jamaican politics.
At the height of his popularity, Marley tried to unify the state of Jamaica that was ravaged by gang wars fuelled by political strife. Then a young but influential internationally-established artist, Bob created a concert to unite the warring factions with music. The One Love concert was organized to bring peace, love, and unity to Jamaica, and was held on 22 April 1978 at The National Stadium in Kingston. But as it turns out the good intentions of the Marley concert was marred by the bloody politics of Jamaica. It was later revealed the concert was used to bring in more guns to arm the warring sides.
Bob Marley is hailed as a musician great. Not only for his music that has sold millions of albums, but more importantly the impact he has made as a person. Marley passed away Lebanon Hospital in Miami on 11th May 1981 after a long battle with cancer.