THE LEGEND OF BOB MARLEY 30 YEARS AFTER
By Walter Greene
Thirty years after the death of International Reggae icon Bob Marley, the truth of `Life Everlasting’ is more so understood as music lovers from all over the world, from every walk of life, reflect and celebrate the glorious life of this true Jamaican superstar. Bob Marley died of cancer on May 11th 1981, at the age of 36. It was one of those sad times, recalling the deaths of popular, beloved figures like Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King - you remember exactly what you were doing on those specific days and your reaction to the shocking news.
Bob Marley’s death was no different. The world went into instant shock, tributes were continuously aired and music outlets could not keep his music in stock. During his lifetime, he lived the life of a peace maker- making conscious music that is still relevant today. He paid special attention to the youth, himself fathering some 13 children. Bob survived gunshots at his Kingston, Jamaica home and even caused a scandal, when his then girlfriend Cindy Breaksphere almost lost her `Miss World’ title by shunning her `Queenly’ duties and flying to Jamaica to be by Bob’s side.
There was always something going on with, and around Bob Marley. World tours, women, soccer games and a marriage to one of his I-Trees back-up singers, Rita. Most importantly, during his short lifetime, Bob made some of the most incredible music in reggae history. How can we ever forget the power, message and rhythm behind his iconic songs like: `I Shot the Sherif’ `Trench town Rock’ `Redemption Song’ `Survivor’ `No Woman No Cry’ `Jammin’ `Exodus’ `Waiting in Vain’ `Pimpers Paradise’ and `One Love’ which has become a worldwide, global anthem and used as a catchphrase for Jamaica’s tourism industry.
Bob Marley, his image, his music and his legacy will live on forever, his star can never fade. There are parts of the world where people don’t even speak English, but know the name Bob Marley. Remote areas of China, South America and Africa, anywhere youths roam, some not even owning a television set or had proper schooling know the name Bob Marley....they all know his music, its timeless and everlasting. There are several shrines and memorials of this great artist and humanitarian. From the blue plaque that marks the spot in Ridgmount Gardens in Camden, one of several London homes associated with Bob, to the Bob Marley Museum on Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica where Bob lived and wrote many of his songs. His memory and spirit is truly everlasting.
On the other side of the coin, the name Bob Marley has become a goldmine for merchandisers. With everything from shoes to snowboards bearing his image the cash registers all across the globe bring in thousands of dollars. Friends and comrades associated with Bob and the culture of Reggae, say it would be tragic if his message of justice for the oppressed gets lost to corporate greed. But it seems like its already too late. The `Business’ of Bob Marley, whether legitimate or not, continues to flourish. The Marley family had law suits out concerning the use if his image, but it was reported that they lost in a court battle. There was talk of his wife Rita Marley wanting to remove his body from its Nine Miles resting place in rural St Ann, the parish in which Bob Marley was born, to Ethiopia, and that too was turned down by the powers that be.