Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Born towards the end of World War II on February 6, 1945, the iconic reggae legend, Robert Nesta Marley who we all know as Bob Marley was born on his maternal grandfather's farm in Nine Mile, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica to a
'white' Jamaican father, Norval Marley 1885 - 1955 (who was a British sailor from Sussex in England who was later confirmed to be a Syrian Jew) and an Afro-Jamaican mother, Cedella Booker 1926 - 2008. Although his father was financially supportive, Bob, rarely saw him as his father was away at sea most of the time. Norval died at 70 when young Bob turned 10 years old of cardiac-related issues. His mother Cedella moved on much later in her life to marry an American civil servant, Edward Booker, giving Bob two American half-brothers Anthony and Richard. Bob's musical talent came to the fore while he was at Stepney Primary and Junior High School. In the company of his childhood friend, Neville Livingstone (Bunny Wailer), Bob and other friends in the Nine Mile neighborhood used to come together to entertain themselves and others with music. Two years after his father's death, Bob's mother had fallen in love with his best friend (Neville)'s father, Thaddeus Livingstone and they both had a daughter who Bob and Neville both shared as a sister (Claudette Pearl). The relationship which did not lead to marriage saw Cedella relocate with Thaddeus to Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica. It was from this point the musical spark was ignited, more to the fact that the two best of friends whose destinies had now been entwined as brothers and who share a common passion which was music, now found themselves under the same. The duo along experimented with various musical genres which included Ska, American-styled R&B, Reggae and Rocksteady to create their own unique blend of Reggae music. In Trenchtown, they became part of a locally popular musical group which comprised of Junior Braithwaite, Joe Higgs, Beverly Kelso, Peter Tosh and the two brothers Bunny Wailers and Bob Marley called Higgs and Wilson. Higgs and Wilson never used any musical instruments, only vocals, which through steady rehearsals became quite professional with finesse; guitar play came a little later. Higgs and Wilson was the launchpad which saw the birth of Bob's own musical group in 1963 which at inception was called the Teenagers, then changed shortly to Wailing Rudeboys and then finally The Wailers which comprised basically of his old vocal group mates from Higgs and Wilson which included himself, Bunny Wailer, Cherry Smith, Junior Braithwaite, Peter Tosh and Beverly Kelso, from this point onwards it was no going back for the Reggae music legend Robert Nesta Marley as his songs got the attention of audiences from around the world.

Tuff Gong as Robert Nesta Marley is popularly called in 1966 married the love of his life Rita Anderson who assisted in the soar of his musical career, what many people do not know is that Bob Marley had more 13 children both from his wife and other women, these include:

  • Sharon (1964)
  • Imani (1963)
  • Cedella (1967)
  • David 'Ziggy' (1968)
  • Stephen (1972)
  • Robert 'Robbie' (1972)
  • Rohan (1972)
  • Karen (1973)
  • Stephanie (1974)
  • Julian (1975)
  • KyMani (1976)
  • Damian (1978)
  • Makeda (1981)

Although Tuff Gong was a born-Catholic, he later became a deep believer in the Rastafarian movement in the 1960s but he did not begin to grow dreadlocks till a little later according to the Rastafari belief which is hinged on the biblical Samson and religious vows which deter its followers from cutting their hair. Bob has been to known to work with just one Producer through the most part of his musical career and this person is none other than the legendary Lee Perry aka Scratch, through their working relationship the duo have been known to be in and out of skirmishes with each other but these had never truncated their working relationship for decades.

The music legend Bob Marley (Tuff Gong) who is so much honored in Jamaica and worldwide, took reggae music to the world while he inadvertently preached a philosophical message of truth in relation to the human liberation from slavery in all forms, upliftment of the human sphere of thinking, and peace among mankind in all his songs. 

Through a massively successful musical career that saw him travel the world doing what he knew best, Bob Marley released 15 albums which include:

  • The Wailing Wailers (1965)
  • Soul Rebels (1970)
  • Soul Revolution (1971)
  • The Best of The Wailers (1971)
  • Catch a Fire (1973)
  • Burnin' (1973)
  • Natty Dread (1974)
  • Live! (1975)
  • Rastaman Vibration (1976)
  • Exodus (1977)
  • Babylon by Bus (1978)
  • Kaya (1978)
  • Survival (1979)
  • Uprising (1980)
  • Confrontation (1983)

The reggae music legend, Bob Marley was known be a big time fan of soccer and even played it anywhere he found himself while he was not working, at one time Tuff Gong made the popular Jamaican international soccer star Allan Cole aka Skill his tour manager and he was was a very close friend of the Brazilian soccer legend Pele.

In 1976, An attempt was made on Bob Marley's life while he was ready to perform at the SMILE JAMAICA concert which was organized by the then Prime Minister, Michael Manley. Himself, wife and manager Don Taylor were wounded as they were attacked by unknown gunmen in Tuff Gong's house, this attack was said to be politically inspired. In July of 1977, Bob was diagnosed with Melanoma which was a symptom of an already existing cancer. After two collapses, the cancer had spread to his brain led to his death on May 11, 1981.

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