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Bob Marley - Jammin
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Bob Marley - One Love
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Bob Marley - Stir It Up
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Bob Marley History in short
In 1963, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley
Kelso, and Cherry Smith formed a ska and rocksteady group, calling themselves
"The Teenagers". They later changed their name to "The Wailing Rudeboys", then
to "The Wailing Wailers", at which point they were discovered by record producer
Coxsone Dodd, and finally to "The Wailers". By 1966, Braithwaite, Kelso, and
Smith had left The Wailers, leaving the core trio of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer,
and Peter Tosh.
In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, and moved near his mother's residence
in Wilmington, Delaware in the United States for a short time, during which he
worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant,
under the alias Donald Marley.
Upon returning to Jamaica, Marley became a member of the Rastafari movement,
and started to wear his trademark dreadlocks (see the religion section for more
on Marley's religious views).
After a conflict with Dodd, Marley and his band teamed up with Lee "Scratch"
Perry and his studio band, The Upsetters. Although the alliance lasted less than
a year, they recorded what many consider The Wailers' finest work. Marley and
Perry split after a dispute regarding the assignment of recording rights, but
they would remain friends and work together again.
Between 1968 and 1972, Bob and Rita Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer
re-cut some old tracks with JAD Records in Kingston and London in an attempt to
commercialize The Wailers' sound. Bunny later asserted that these songs "should
never be released on an album … they were just demos for record companies to
listen to." Also in 1968, Bob and Rita visited the Bronx to see Johnny Nash's
songwriter Jimmy Norman. A three day jam session with Norman and others,
including Norman's co-writer Al Pyfrom, resulted in a 24-minute tape of Marley
performing several of his own and Norman-Pyfrom's compositions which is,
according to Reggae archivist Roger Steffens, rare in that was influenced by pop
rather than reggae, as part of the effort to break Marley into American charts.
According to an article in The New York Times, Marley experimented on the tape
with different sounds, adopting a doo-wop style on "Stay With Me" and "the slow
love song style of 1960's artists" on "Splish for My Splash."
The Wailers' first album, Catch a Fire, was released worldwide in 1973, and
sold well. It was followed a year later by Burnin', which included the songs
"Get Up, Stand Up" and "I Shot The Sheriff". Eric Clapton made a hit cover of "I
Shot the Sheriff" in 1974, raising Marley's international profile.
The Wailers broke up in 1974 with each of the three main members going on to
pursue solo careers. The reason for the breakup is shrouded in conjecture; some
believe that there were disagreements amongst Bunny, Peter, and Bob concerning
performances, while others claim that Bunny and Peter simply preferred solo
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Main article: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Despite the breakup, Marley continued recording as "Bob Marley & The Wailers".
His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett on
drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar,
Tyrone Downie and Earl "Wya" Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on
percussion. The "I Threes", consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and
Marley's wife, Rita, provided backing vocals.
In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside
Jamaica, "No Woman, No Cry," from the Natty Dread album. This was followed by
his breakthrough album in the US, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which spent four
weeks on the Billboard charts Top Ten.
In December 1976, two days before "Smile Jamaica", a free concert organized
by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in an attempt to ease tension
between two warring political groups, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor
were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley's home. Taylor and
Marley's wife sustained serious injuries, but later made full recoveries. Bob
Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm. The shooting was thought to
have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support
rally for Manley. Nonetheless, the concert proceeded, and an injured Marley
performed as scheduled, two days after the attempt. When asked why, Marley
responded, "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a
day off. How can I?".
The members of the group Zap Pow – which had no radical religious or
political beliefs – played as Bob Marley's backup band before a festival crowd
of 80,000 while members of the Wailers were still missing or in hiding.
Marley left Jamaica at the end of 1976 for England, where he recorded his
Exodus and Kaya albums. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56
consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: "Exodus", "Waiting In Vain",
"Jamming", "One Love", and a rendition of Curtis Mayfield's hit, "People Get
Ready". It was here that he was arrested and received a conviction for
possession of a small quantity of cannabis while traveling in London.
In 1978, Marley performed at another political concert in Jamaica, the One
Love Peace Concert, again in an effort to calm warring parties. Near the end of
the performance, by Marley's request, Manley and his political rival, Edward
Seaga, joined each other on stage and shook hands.
Babylon by Bus, a double live album with 13 tracks, was released in 1978 to
critical acclaim. This album, and specifically the final track "Jammin'" with
the audience in a frenzy, captured the intensity of Marley's live performances.
Survival, a defiant and politically charged album, was released in 1979.
Tracks such as "Zimbabwe", "Africa Unite", "Wake Up and Live", and "Survival"
reflected Marley's support for the struggles of Africans. His appearance at the
Amandla Festival in Boston in July 1979 showed his strong opposition to South
African apartheid, which he already had shown in his song "War" in 1976. In
early 1980, he was invited to perform at the April 17 celebration of Zimbabwe's
Uprising (1980) was Bob Marley's final studio album, and is one of his most
religious productions, including "Redemption Song" and "Forever Loving Jah". It
was in "Redemption Song" that Marley sang the famous lyric,
“ Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds ”
Confrontation, released posthumously in 1983, contained unreleased material
recorded during Marley's lifetime, including the hit "Buffalo Soldier" and new
mixes of singles previously only available in Jamaica.
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