Celebrating the 77th Birthday of Reggae Pioneer Bob Marley
Sunday 6th February would be the 77th birthday of the legendary reggae artist Bob Marley. Born in Nine Mile, Jamaica, Robert Nesta Marley and his backing band The Wailers fused Ska and Rocksteady styles to bring reggae into the spotlight worldwide in the 1960’s.
Moving to London in the early 1970’s and signing to the Island Records label gained the artist international attention. Marley's songs were often political, with popular themes of love, redemption, and struggle, recording many enduring singles including 'I Shot the Sheriff', 'Redemption Song', and 'No Woman No Cry'. The most commercially and critically successful album, 'Exodus', released during the birth of punk in 1977, contains some of his biggest hits including 'Three Little Birds', and 'One Love'.
In 1977, after surviving an assassination attempt at his Jamaican home, he moved permanently to London, but that same year he was diagnosed with an aggressive skin cancer. He died of the illness in 1981 aged just 36, to worldwide grief, and he received a state funeral in Jamaica.
His influence on music cannot be overstated. He ranks as one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, with Exodus named Album of the Century by Time Magazine, and One Love named Song of the Millennium by the BBC.
But he was politically outspoken too, and he will also be remembered for his anti-apartheid stance, his attempts to end the damaging wars between rival Kingston gangs and his support for democratic reform. He was awarded a Peace Medal by the United Nations in 1978 and honoured with the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1981, just before his death.
Reggae music originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s and is believed to be derived from ‘rege-rege’, a Jamaican term for ragged clothing. Marley disputed this, claiming it had its origins in a Spanish term for ‘the king’s music’. Reggae shares its roots with jazz and rhythm and blues music and has been hugely influential in the evolution of many modern genres including dub, hip hop, and drum and bass.
Alex Bennett, Head of Marketing at musicGuard, said “Bob Marley was a true legend and was instrumental in bringing reggae music to a global audience, inspiring countless other music genres.”
musicGuard, a leading UK musical instrument insurer for over 20 years, celebrates Bob Marley the musician, with the top spot in a review of the 7 best reggae artists of all time. Each and every one has contributed and helped to define and popularise the genre around the globe.
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The 7 best reggae artists of all-time | musicGuard