"I love the development of our music, that's what I really dig about the whole thing. How we've tried to develop, y'know? It grows. That's why every day people come forward with new songs. Music goes on forever."
--Bob Marley, August 1979
We remember the brilliant and evocative music Bob Marley gave the world; music that stretches back over nearly two decades and still remains timeless and universal. Marley has been called "the first Third World superstar," "Rasta Prophet," "visionary," and" "revolutionary artist." These accolades were not mere hyperbole. Marley was one of the most charismatic and challenging performers of our time.
Bob Marley's career stretched back over twenty years. During that time Marley's growing style encompassed every aspect in the rise of Jamaican music, from ska to contemporary reggae. That growth was well reflected in the maturity of the Wailers' music.
Bob's first recording attempts came at the beginning of the Sixties. His first two tunes, cut as a solo artist, meant nothing in commercial terms and it wasn't until 1964, as a founding member of a group called the Wailing Wailers, that Bob first hit the Jamaican charts. The record was "Simmer Down," and over the next few years the Wailing Wailers -- Bob, Peter Mclntosh and Bunny Livingston, the nucleus of the group -- put out some 30 sides that properly established them as one of the hottest groups in Jamaica. Mclntosh later shortened his surname to Tosh while Livingston is now called Bunny Wailer. Despite their popularity, the economics of keeping the group together proved too much and the two other members, Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso, left the group. At the same time Bob joined his mother in the United States. This marked the end of the Wailing Wailers, Chapter One.
Marley's stay in America was short-lived, however, and he returned to Jamaica to join up again with Peter and Bunny. By the end of the Sixties, with the legendary reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry at the mixing desk, The Wailers were again back at the top in Jamaica. The combination of the Wailers and Perry resulted in some of the finest music the band ever made. Tracks like "Soul Rebel," "Duppy Conquerer," "400 Years," and "Small Axe" were not only classics, but they defined the future direction of reggae. It's difficult to properly understand Bob music without considering Rastafari. His spiritual beliefs are too well known to necessitate further explanation. It must be stated, however, that Rastafari is at the very core of the Wailers' music.
In 1970 Aston Familyman Barrett and his brother Carlton (bass and drums, respectively) joined the Wailers. They came to the band unchallenged as Jamaica's HARDEST rhythm section; a reputation that was to remain undiminished during the following decade. Meanwhile, the band's own reputation was, at the start of the Seventies, an extraordinary one throughout the Caribbean. However, the band was still unknown internationally. That was to...