Marley's best known hits include "I Shot the Sheriff", "No Woman, No Cry", "Could You Be Loved", "Stir It Up", "Jamming", "Redemption Song", "One Love" and, together with The Wailers, "Three Little Birds", as well as the posthumous releases "Buffalo Soldier" and "Iron Lion Zion". The compilation album, Legend (1984), released three years after his death, is reggae's best-selling album, being 10 times Platinum (Diamond) in the U.S., and selling 20 million copies worldwide.
Early life and careerBob Marley was born in the small village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica as Nesta Robert Marley. A Jamaican passport official would later swap his first and middle names. His father, Norval Sinclair Marley, was a Jamaican of English descent, whose family came from Essex, England. Norval was a captain in the Royal Marines, as well as a plantation overseer, when he married Cedella Booker, an Afro-Jamaican then 18 years old. Norval provided financial support for his wife and child, but seldom saw them, as he was often away on trips. In 1955, when Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at age 60. Marley was teased as a youth because of his mixed racial origins, and faced questions about his own racial identity throughout his life. He once reflected: "I don't have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't dip on nobody's side. Me don't dip on the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me dip on God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white." Although Marley recognised his mixed ancestry, throughout his life and because of his beliefs, he self-identified as a black African. In songs such as "Black Survivor", "Babylon System", and "Blackman Redemption", Marley sings about the struggles of blacks and Africans against oppression from the West or "Babylon".
Marley became friends with Neville "Bunny" Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer), with whom he started to play music. He left school at the age of 14 to make music with Joe Higgs, a local singer and devout Rastafari. It was at a jam session with Higgs and Livingston that Marley met Peter McIntosh (later known as Peter Tosh), who had similar musical ambitions. In 1962, Marley recorded his first two singles, "Judge Not" and "One Cup of Coffee", with local music producer Leslie Kong. These songs, released on the Beverley's label under the pseudonym of Bobby Martell, attracted little attention. The songs were later re-released on the box set, Songs of Freedom, a posthumous collection of Marley's work.
- Apr–Jul 1973: Catch a Fire Tour (England, USA)
- Oct–Nov 1973: Burnin' Tour (USA, England)
- Jun–Jul 1975: Natty Dread Tour (USA, Canada, England)
- Apr–Jul 1976: Rastaman Vibration Tour (USA, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, France, England, Wales)
- May–Jun 1977: Exodus Tour (France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England)
- May–Aug 1978: Kaya Tour (USA, Canada, England, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium)
- Apr–May 1979: Babylon by Bus Tour (Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii)
- Oct 1979–Jan 1980: Survival Tour (USA, Canada, Trinidad/Tobago, Bahamas, Gabon)
- May–Sep 1980: Uprising Tour (Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, USA)
Awards and honours
- 1976: Band of the Year (Rolling Stone)
- June 1978: Awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations
- February 1981: Awarded Jamaica's third highest honour, the Jamaican Order of Merit
- March 1994: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- 1999: Album of the Century for Exodus (Time)
- February 2001: A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- February 2001: Awarded Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2004: Rolling Stone ranked him #11 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time
- "One Love" named song of the millennium by BBC
- Voted as one of the greatest lyricists of all time by a BBC poll.
- 2006: A plaque dedicated to him by Nubian Jak community trust and supported by Her Majesty's Foreign Office.
- 2010 "Catch a Fire" inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (Reggae Album).