Essay on Cultural Identity of Bob Marley

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1381 Words
Date:  2021-05-25

Bob Marley was one of the most influential artists through global culture .he passed on May 11, 1981. Since then his music and culture have made him a legend, through his huge list of accomplishments from his music which was based on oppressor social changes and still allowing his listeners to forget their problems and dance. He was later inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in the year 1994

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Early life, Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945, to Cedella Marley who was only sixteen years at the time. Bobs early life mainly was in his rural community of Nine Miles in St Ann residential area. His community had customs derived from their African heritage mostly the art of storytelling as a way of sharing their past and traditions which often overlooked their primary historical sources. It contained wise sayings and various works of their rural life which were inherent in providing a deep culture context which influenced his adult songwriting.

Bob's parents Norval and Cedella got married in the year 1945, but Captain Marley's family greatly disagreed although the elder Marley provided financial support when He last saw his father while he was only five years old. Norval took his son to live with his nephew who was a business man and was to attend school. Cedella learned that he was not attending school she later took him and brought him back to live with her at home in Nine miles.

In the 1950s when Bob was barely a teen, he left St Ann and returned to Jamaica's capital. Where he eventually settled in southern Kingston a place called Trench town which was named so because it was built over a sewage trench. It was a low-income community. Despite it being a slum the town was rich in culture where Bob's talent was natured. It gave him a permanent source of inspiration Bob immortalized the town in his song "No Woman No Cry" (1974) and "Trench Town Rock"(1975) the later released posthumously in1983.

When he was sixteen he got to meet an aspiring musician by the name Desmond Dekker who later went to the UK top chart of 1969 with his single "Israelites" Dekker introduced him to another young artist by the name Jimmy Cliff of the Jamaican film "The Harder They Come", who was only aged 14 at the time and had recorded a few hit songs in 1962.Cliff latter introduce Mley to a producer named Leslie Kong , with his help Bob recorded his first songs "Judge Not Terror", and "One More Cup of Coffee", which was a cover of the million-selling country song by Claude Gary Though the songs failed , Marley told Kong that he will make a lot of money from his recording but he wouldn't be able to enjoy it .During the Wailers era Kong recorded and released a best of the Wailer's compilation and died of a heart attack at thirty-seven years.

In the year 1963, Marley and his friend Neville Livingston also known a Bunny Waller started attending vocal lessons held at Trench Town area by Joe Higgs who was a known singer. Higgs later introduced Marley and Bunny to Peter Tosh and then Bob Marley and the Wailers legend began. Bob, Bunny, and Peter then met Clement Sir Coxson Dodd who was a sound system operator turned producer founder of Jamaican record label Studio One and with their soulful harmonies there music echoed the struggles facing Jamaica's poor, with this, they attained an enormous local following. There first single "Simmer Down', reportedly sold over 80,000 copies the Wailers recorded several hits like "Rude Boy," "I am Still Waiting," and "One Love," a song that the BBC will later refer to it as the song of the century thirty-five years later.

During the mid 60s jaunty ski beat had transformed into a slower rock steady beat which gave way to the Jamaican signature reggae rhythm around 1968 in 1966 Marley married Rita Ander son and later went to live in Delareware for some months and worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler company under the alias Donald Marley.

During his absence from Jamaica His Imperia Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie, I visited the island from April 21-24 1966.His Majesty is referred to as lord and savior according to Rastafarian beliefs his visit had an impact on Rita and Bob and the adopted the Rastafarian way of life. When Bob returned to Jamaica, The Wailers began the Wail N Soul M Record label, which identified with its first act. A few songs were released, but a rise in lack of funds led to its dissolving (Grey Jeffery, 2006)

Bob Marley's third album from island record "Natty Dreads ", released in October 1975 credited by Bob Marley and the Wailers the harmonies by Peter and Bunny were replaced by the I Thress , Rita Marley , Marcia Griffths and Judy Mowatt the band also included Tyrone Downie AL Anderson and Wya Lindo on the keyboard, Alvin Peterson playing the percussion .The group was characterized by spiritual and social influencing lyrics "Natty Dread" album included song included songs that celebrated reggae culture "Live Up Yourself", was a song which Bob used as an opener for many concerts while the happiness found among friends through struggle in Trench Town youth was conveyed in "No Woman No Cry". The songs played a significant role in introducing the Rastafarian culture to the world. The album reached number 44 in the billboards black albums and number 92 on the pop chart. (Gery Steckles, 2008)

During the 1976 period, Bob Marley was regarded as a universal reggae ambassador who made Rastafarian culture popular. In Jamaica, his recognition was popular among the youth and the old who embraced his messages in his through his music. His influence led to a point where there was a division in politic leading to tension among the major political parties which were Peoples National Party and Jamaica Labor Party. Bob agreed to perform in a free concert named Jamaica smile, but two days before the show an unsuccessful assassination attempt happened. Bob escaped with minor injuries. The assassination attempt did not seem to damage his spirit. He still performed his song "War" at the concert where it was reported that 80,000 people attended. Afterward, he went silent, and only a few people knew his whereabouts. Three months later He flew to London where he lived for one and a half years. (Timothy White, 1998)

The release of the "Kaya" album led to Bob Marley's return to Jamaica to perform at the One Love Peace concert on April 22, 1978, at Kingston National Stadium. The event was meant to reduce the massive violence rampage by their rivalry between the political parties; the concert featured sixteen prominent reggae artists and was named "Third World Woodstock." During the show, Bob called rivalry political party leaders to the stage and urge them to shake hands clasping his left hand to their raising it up and chanting "Jah Rastafari" which showed his main aim was to bridge peace.

On 1978 Bob made his first trip to Africa visiting Ethiopia and Kenya. In his Ethiopian visit, he went to his spiritual home a communal settlement on land donated by His Majesty Emperor Haie Selassie to Rastafarian's that choose to move to Ethiopia he also visited ancient places in relevant to His Majesty. During Zimbabwes official independence ceremony on April 1980 Bob and the Wailers were invited by the newly President-elect Robert Mugabe This honor showed the importance of Bob and the Wailers in the African Diaspora.

Bob Marley has influenced many worlds and is still recognized through his music. He challenged colonialism and racism as he sang. When he sang "One Drop" in non-English speaking countries, it had a significant impact. Marley is one of the most celebrated musicians with monuments sculpture and museum. On His birthday in Koh Lipe, Thailand it is celebrated for three days with a cultural festival while in New Zealand his life and music is a major concept of the Waitangi day used for honor in him and uniting the treaties signed by European settlers and members of the Maori population.


Timothy White( 1998) "Catch A Fire Life Of Bob Marley." Omnibus Press Retrieved 17, 11, 2016.

Gery Steckles (2008) "BOB MARLEY." Macmillan Caribbean Retrieved 17, 11, 2016.

Grey Jeffery(2006) Bob "Marley The Life Of A Musical Legend." The Rosen Publishing Group Retrieve 17, 11, 2016.

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