The biography of Bob Marlay
In the year 1944, Captain Norval Marley married a young Jamaican girl named Cedalla Booker. On February 6, 1945 at two thirty in the morning their son, Robert Nesta Marley was born in his grandfather’s house. Soon after Bob was born his father left his mother. He did however give financial support and occasionally returned to see his son.
It was now the late fifties, jobs were scarce in Jamaica, so Bob followed his mother from ttheir home in St. Ann to Trenchtown (West Kingston) to seek employment in the big city. Trenchtown got it’s name because it was built over a ditch which drained the sewage of old Kingston. In Trenchtown Bob spent a lot of his time with his good friend Neville Livingstone who people called by his nickname, Bunny. Also in the big city Bob was more exposed to the music which he had loved, including such greats as Fats Domino and Ray CCharles. Bob and Bunny attended a music class together which was held by the famous Jamaican singer Joe Higgs. In that class they met Peter Macintosh and soon became good friends. In the meantime Jamaican music evolving and became very ppopular throughout the Caribbean due to it’s invention of Ska music. When Bob was 16, he started to follow his dream of becoming a musician. Music to many young Jamaicans was an escape from the harshness of everyday life. One of those kids was Jimmy Cliff who at the age of 14 had already recorded a couple of hits. After meeting Bob, Jimmy introduced him to Leslie Kong, a local record producer. Bob followed his advice and auditioned for Leslie Kong. Bob’s musical talents shone much more brightly then anyone else that day and found himself in the studio recording his first single „Judge Not“. Unfortunately neither „Judge Not“ nor his 1962 single „One more cup of Coffee“ did very wwell. Bob soon left Kong after she failed to give him his pay. The following year Bob, Bunny and some other friends formed the Wailing Wailers. The didn’t get off to a great start, after just a couple recording sessions two members, Cherry and Junior Braithwait left the band. The band continued on and was introduced to Clemet Dodd, a producer of the record company Coxsone. It was here where the Wailing Wailers recorded the first song „Simmer Down“ which ddid quite well in Jamaica. To help with the recording of their songs the studio provided several talented Ska musicians. The Wailing Wailers consisting now of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny were starting to become quite popular locally. Their audiences rapidly grew and they recorded several more songs on the Coxsone label which included „It Hurts to be Alone“ and „Rule the Roadie“ Bob soon took on the role of the leader, being the main songwriter and all. Bob’s life continued to look brighter on February 10, 1966 when Bob Marley married girlfriend Rita Anderson. The next day Bob left for the United States to visit his mother who lived in Delaware. While in the US he worked to better finance his music and soon returned home. When Bob Marley returned the Wailing Wailers’ music evolved from Ska to Rock Steady. This evolution conflicted with Coxsone who wanted a Ska band. So the newly Wailing Wailers left Coxsone to form and renamed themselves the Wailers. Instead of looking around for a new label the Wailers decided to form their own which they called Wail ‘N’ Soul. This coincided with the birth of the Marley’s first born who they named CCedalla. They released a couple signals on their label such as „Bend down low“ and „Mellow Mood“ before it folded the very same year. The ending of their label affected the band greatly, it wasn’t until they met Lee Perry that they got back on track. With the help of Lee Perry the Wailers produced such great tracks as „Duppy Conquerer“, „Soul Rebel“, „400 Years“ and „Small Axe“.
1970 saw the Wailers family grow with the addition of Aston „Family Man“ Barret and his brother Carleton. The Wailers were now quite popular throughout the Caribbean but still internationally unknown. With this popularity a second more successful label was formed by the Wailers called Tuff Gong after a nickname of Bob Marley. The Wailers met Johnny Nash and soon Bob accompanied Nash to Sweden and London. When in London, Bob recorded „Reggae on Broadway“ which was released by CBS. After this the rest of the Wailers arrived in London to help promote the single only to find that there were out of money and stranded there. With little options available, Bob went into the Island Records Basing Street Studios and asked to speak to the boss, Chris Blackwell with hopes of aa possible record deal. Mr. Blackwell had already heard of the Wailers and signed them on the spot. He advanced them eight thousand pounds so that they could fly back home and record their first album for Island. This was a massive deal, for the first time a reggae band would have access to the finest recording facilities. The album they released was „Catch a Fire“, it was very well received by critics and was one of the first reggae albums. Before the Wailers reggae was sold on signals or compilation albums.
In the Spring of 1973 the Wailers arrived back in London to kick off their three month tour of Britain. At the conclusion of the tour they returned back to Jamaica where Bunny decided to quit touring. Joe Higgs replaced him. The Wailers along with Higgs traveled to the US were they were scheduled to open 17 shows for the number one black act in the States, Sly and the Family Stone. The Wailers were fired after 4 shows because they were more popular then they band the opened for, the crowd often chanted „Wail-ers“ well into the Sly and the Family Stone set. Also they opened a
couple dates for Bruce Springsteen. After Sly and the Family Stone axed the Wailers they found themselves once again without money and stranded, this time in Las Vegas. Somehow they found their way to San Fransico. While there they did a live concert broadcast for the radio station KSAN-FM. The whole experience boosted their popularity in North America.
With 1973 winding down the Wailers released the much anticipated follow up album to „Catch a Fire“ called „Burnin“. On this album mmany Wailer classics appear such as „I shot the Sheriff“ and „Get Up Stand Up“. The Wailers popularity in North America grew even more when Eric Clapton re-recorded „I Shot the Sheriff“, becoming a number one hit on the US singles charts.
1975 saw the release of the Wailers’s third album, „Natty Dread“ with such great tracks as „Talking Blues“, „No Woman No Cry“ and „Revolution“. On the down side though two thirds of the original Wailing Wailers, Peter Tosh and BBunny Wailer quit the band to pursue solo careers. This caused the band to change their name again. This time to Bob Marley and the Wailers. The departure of the two members created a hole in the backing vocal section, tthis hole ...
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