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REGGAE ROOTS VIBES

BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS - REMEMBERING A LEGEND

February 19, 2017

 

 

BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS

"REMEMBERING A LEGEND"


 

Spawned in the steaming ghetto called Trench Town, the Wailers are the masters of reggae; the acknowledged voice of Rastafari is Bob Marley. Brother Bob Marley and the Wailers touch the very core of our psyches and as the musical branches of a growing Caribbean roots consciousness, these brethrens made understandable the foundations of our being. We see ourselves reflected in their music.

 

Robert Nester Marley, internationally famous superstar was born in 1945, the son of an English army Captain and a Jamaican woman. Bob started singing professionally at the age of fifteen (15), “But why?” “That is a hard question he says, “I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, I just like music.” In 1963, himself along with Peter McIntosh (later Peter Tosh) and Bunny Livingston (later Bunny Wailer) formed the Wailing Wailers. Two of their earliest hits were “Simmer Down” and “Rude Boy”.

 

In 1967 he did some work with Johnny Nash. Nash came to record in Kingston and later had a series of Reggae singles on the British charts culminating four years later with “Stir It Up” which was written by Bob Marley. 1969 emerged as one of their classic periods. Recorded by the most famous Reggae producer of them all, Lee “Scratch” Perry, they did two LPs and the singles “Duppy Conqueror” and “Small Axe”.

 

It was at this stage that their Rastafarian religion became the core of their music. Bob Marley believed the concept that His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I as being the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He says, “Haile Selassie is the Almighty. We belong to Africa. Everyone in the world will have to respect that. Until we all realize that civilization started from Ethiopia and we multiplied from that and spread out, there will be pure war and our lives will be in torment and vexation. We have to respect Africa to find peace of mind.” “The devil may tell you we have no link in Africa but we have to stop letting the devil tell us – white people and black people both – and we have to think for ourselves.”

 

In 1970 they successfully launched their own label, Tuff Gong. Their breakthrough to recognition came when they signed to the British label, “Island”, for which they did the albums “Catch A Fire” and “Burning” (including “I Shot The Sheriff” which Eric Clapton made into a hit single in 1974).

 

In 1975 the Wailers split up, Peter and Bunny both went solo. It was then that Bob released the album “Natty Dread”. He then recorded the “Live” album, which produced the group’s first UK hit single “No Woman, No Cry”. Marley’s first platinum was from the L.P. “Rastaman Vibration”.

 

Marley’s works are among the most powerful songs of black rage ever written. Some of Marley’s songs talk about Rastafari, some about slums in Jamaica. At times songs are about situations that exist in Jamaica but they are international situations – they also exist in other parts of the World. People suffer everywhere, in every city and ghetto.

 

Bob Marley’s presence in the music halls throughout the world has cleared a path that has established listing posts in Britain, the United States, Africa, France, Germany, Canada and Japan. His music has created thousands of faithful disciples in the home of Reggae music.

 

Marley, who has put in lyrics, in no uncertain term, the gut reaction of the have-nots, coupled with his exuberance and charisma has made him the voice of his people as related in his song “Ambush” from his album “Survival”. Bob’s music sends a crystal clear message to those who seek to oppress the mind, must be eradicated at all cost. So arms in arms with arms, we’ll fight this little struggle. Cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.

 

Some of Marley’s great works are on albums such as “Kaya”, “Exodus”, “Babylon By Bus”, “Uprising”, “Confrontation”, “Rebel Music”, “Live” and “Legend”. In 1973 Bob Marley and the Wailers launched their first major U.S. tour as the opening act for Sly Stone (Marley upstaged superstar Sly on that show). In the National Stadium in October 1975, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder shared the same stage. The crowd went wild when they harmonised on “I Shot The Sheriff”.

 

Bob and Stevie again shared the stage in 1979 at the Black Music Association’s Conference in Philadelphia. It was no surprise when Stevie paid tribute to Bob in the song “Master Blaster Jammin”. Shortly after the release of this song Bob Marley collapsed in New York and his illness diagnosed as cancer, this caused the plan for Bob and Stevie to go on a world tour to be aborted. Stevie took time out to call bob at the cancer clinic in Germany. Two days before “Stevie Wonder in Concert in Stockholm”, May 11, 1981, Bob Marley died and Stevie dedicated the show to his brethren “Bob”.

 

Bob Marley is more popular today than at his death in 1981. Bob has been selling more albums since his death than when he was alive. The World has gravitated towards his music since his death and Tuff Gong doesn’t have to advertise Bob Marley t-shirts, records and memorabilia, they just sell. Bob Marley received the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government in 1981 and was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1994. The album “Legend” has become the number one best seller. The song “One Love” was voted “Song of the Century” and Bob Marley, “The Artiste of the Century” by Time magazine. The legend truly lives on.

 

 

 

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