Bob Marley: One Love For Music


Bob Marley during a performance.

On this date in 1980, Bob Marley played what would be his final concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Here are some things you may not have known about him.

Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Mile, Jamaica.

His parents originally gave him the first name Nesta, meaning “wise messenger.” Later, a Jamaican passport worker would transpose Marley’s first and middle names.

His father, who was rarely involved in Marley’s life, died of a heart attack at the age of 70 when his son was 10 years old.

Marley’s mother moved with her son to the Trench Town area of Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. There Marley made friends with Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. The trio would go on to form the core of The Wailers in 1963. The group was originally named The Teenagers, The Wailing Rudeboys and the Wailing Wailers before settling on the simpler moniker.

Their first single “Simmer Down” was a No. 1 hit in Jamaica and sold an estimated 70,000 copies.

In 1966, Marley moved to Delaware to live near his mother. During that time, he worked as a lab assistant for DuPont and at a Chrysler plant under the name Donald Marley.

Soon thereafter, he returned to Jamaica, where he became interested in Rastafari and began growing his hair out.

In 1973, The Wailers released their first album with Island Records, “Catch a Fire.” That release didn’t sell well, but included the song “Stir It Up.”

Later that year they released the album “Burnin’,” which included the songs “Get Up, Stand Up” and “I Shot the Sheriff,” the latter of which would be covered by Eric Clapton on his album “461 Ocean Boulevard.”

In 1974, The Wailers broke up, although Marley continued to perform as “Bob Marley and the Wailers” with different musicians.

Marley’s first hit outside of Jamaica was 1975’s “No Woman, No Cry,” form the album “Natty Dread.”

In 1976, Marley, his wife, and his manager were injured by gunmen in his home. Marley suffered minor injuries, but his wife and manager were seriously wounded. Marley performed during a free concert two days later, saying “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?” He would spend the next two years outside Jamaica.

In 1977, he released “Exodus,” which was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as the 169th best album of all time.

That year, he was found to have a form of melanoma under one of his toenails. He refused to have the toe amputated, because of his religious beliefs, but had the toenail and nail bed removed. The melanoma was not caused by an injury suffered while playing soccer, despite urban legends saying so.

He continued touring , including a show in front of 100,000 people in Milan, Italy.

What would be Marley’s final show took place at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh. Afterwards, his health deteriorated.

He died in Miami, Florida on May 11, 1981, at the age of 36.

In 1984, Island Records released “Legend” a greatest hits album. It has sold more than 33 million copies worldwide and is the second longest-charting album in Billboard magazine history with a run of 992 non-consecutive weeks on the chart.

Our question: What is the longest-charting album in Billboard magazine history.

Today is National Day in Saudi Arabia, and Teachers’ Day in Brunei.

It’s unofficially Native American Day, National Checkers Day, and Restless Legs Awareness Day.

It’s a musical birthday today — John Coltrane was born in 1926; Ray Charles in 1930, and Bruce Springsteen turns 67 today.

This week in 1980, the top song in the U.S. was “Upside Down” by Diana Ross.

The No. 1 movie was “Ordinary People,” while the novel “Rage of Angels” by Sidney Sheldon topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.


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