Bob Marley - Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his passing today with titles from the Coda Classics Range!
Marley (Bob) & The Wailers - Legend: Limited Edition Remastered Double Album on 180g Vinyl
In 1984 the album Legend was released, comprising a collection of the very best of Bob Marley and the Wailers, we have very limited numbers of the remastered vinyl edition with two bonus tracks, get yours here.
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It is 40 years to the day since Bob Marley died, but his music lives on.
Born on 6 February 1945 at the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Malcolm.Bob Marley and Neville Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer) were childhood friends in Nine Mile. They played music together while at Stepney Primary and Junior High School. Marley left Nine Mile with his mother when he was 12 and moved to Trenchtown, Kingston. Marley and Livingston were living together in the same house in Trenchtown, where their musical explorations deepened to include the latest R&B from United States radio stations whose broadcasts reached Jamaica, and the new ska music.
The move to Trenchtown was proving to be fortuitous, and Marley soon found himself in a vocal group with Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Beverley Kelso and Junior Braithwaite. Joe Higgs, who was part of the successful vocal act Higgs and Wilson, and his singing partner Roy Wilson had been raised by the grandmother of Junior Braithwaite. Junior Braithwaite and the others were congregating around this successful duo.
Marley and the others did not play any instruments at this time, and were more interested in being a vocal harmony group. Higgs was glad to help them develop their vocal harmonies, although more importantly, he had started to teach Marley how to play guitar—thereby creating the bedrock that would later allow Marley to construct some of the biggest-selling reggae songs in the history of the genre.
In February 1962, Marley recorded four songs, "Judge Not", "One Cup of Coffee", "Do You Still Love Me?" and "Terror", at Federal Studios for local music producer Leslie Kong. Three of the songs were released on Beverley's with "One Cup of Coffee" being released under the pseudonym Bobby Martell.
In 1963, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith were called the Teenagers. They later changed the name to the Wailing Rudeboys, then to the Wailing Wailers, at which point they were discovered by record producer Coxsone Dodd, and finally to the Wailers. Their single "Simmer Down" for the Coxsone label became a Jamaican No. 1 in February 1964 selling an estimated 70,000 copies. The Wailers, now regularly recording for Studio One, found themselves working with established Jamaican musicians such as Ernest Ranglin (arranger "It Hurts To Be Alone"), the keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and saxophonist Roland Alphonso. By 1966, Braithwaite, Kelso, and Smith had left the Wailers, leaving the core trio of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh.
In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, and moved near his mother's residence in Wilmington, Delaware, in the United States for a short time, during which he worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant in nearby Newark, under the alias Donald Marley.
Though raised as a Catholic, Marley became interested in Rastafari beliefs in the 1960s, when away from his mother's influence. After returning to Jamaica, Marley formally converted to Rastafari and began to grow dreadlocks.
After a financial disagreement with Dodd, Marley and his band teamed up with Lee "Scratch" Perry and his studio band, the Upsetters. Although the alliance lasted less than a year, they recorded what many consider the Wailers' finest work. Marley and Perry split after a dispute regarding the assignment of recording rights, but they would continue to work together.
1969 brought another change to Jamaican popular music in which the beat slowed down even further. The new beat was a slow, steady, ticking rhythm that was first heard on The Maytals song "Do the Reggay." Marley approached producer Leslie Kong, who was regarded as one of the major developers of the reggae sound. For the recordings, Kong combined the Wailers with his studio musicians called Beverley's All-Stars, which consisted of the bassists Lloyd Parks and Jackie Jackson, the drummer Paul Douglas, the keyboard players Gladstone Anderson and Winston Wright, and the guitarists Rad Bryan, Lynn Taitt, and Hux Brown. As David Moskowitz writes, "The tracks recorded in this session illustrated the Wailers' earliest efforts in the new reggae style. Without the ska trumpets and saxophones of the earlier songs, instrumental breaks were now being played on electric guitar." They released the album The Best of The Wailers, including tracks "Soul Shakedown Party," "Stop That Train," "Caution," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Soon Come," "Can't You See," "Soul Captives," "Cheer Up," "Back Out," and "Do It Twice".
Between 1968 and 1972, Bob and Rita Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer re-cut some old tracks with JAD Records in Kingston and London in an attempt to commercialise the Wailers' sound. Bunny later asserted that these songs "should never be released on an album ... they were just demos for record companies to listen to". In 1968, Bob and Rita visited songwriter Jimmy Norman at his apartment in the Bronx. Norman had written the extended lyrics for Kai Winding's "Time Is on My Side" (covered by the Rolling Stones) and had also written for Johnny Nash and Jimi Hendrix. A three-day jam session with Norman and others, including Norman's co-writer Al Pyfrom, resulted in a 24-minute tape of Marley performing several of his own and Norman-Pyfrom's compositions. This tape is, according to Reggae archivist Roger Steffens, rare in that it was influenced by pop rather than reggae, as part of an effort to break Marley into the US charts.
In 1972, Bob Marley signed with CBS Records in London and embarked on a UK tour with soul singer Johnny Nash. While in London the Wailers asked their road manager Brent Clarke to introduce them to Chris Blackwell, who had licensed some of their Coxsone releases for his Island Records.
The Wailers intended to discuss the royalties associated with these releases; instead, the meeting resulted in the offer of an advance of £4,000 to record an album. In Marley, Blackwell recognised the elements needed to snare the rock audience: "I was dealing with rock music, which was really rebel music. I felt that would really be the way to break Jamaican music. But you needed someone who could be that image. When Bob walked in, he really was that image."
The Wailers returned to Jamaica to record at Harry J's in Kingston, which resulted in the album Catch a Fire. Primarily recorded on an eight-track, Catch a Fire marked the first time a reggae band had access to a state-of-the-art studio and were accorded the same care as their rock 'n' roll peers. Blackwell desired to create "more of a drifting, hypnotic-type feel than a reggae rhythm", and restructured Marley's mixes and arrangements.
The Wailers' first album for Island, Catch a Fire, was released worldwide in April 1973, packaged like a rock record with a unique Zippo lighter lift-top. Initially selling 14,000 units, it received a positive critical reception. It was followed later that year by the album Burnin' which included the song "I Shot the Sheriff". Eric Clapton was given the album by his guitarist George Terry in the hope that he would enjoy it. Clapton was impressed and chose to record a cover version of "I Shot the Sheriff" which became his first US hit since "Layla" two years earlier and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 14 September 1974. During this period, Blackwell gifted his Kingston residence and company headquarters at 56 Hope Road (then known as Island House) to Marley. Housing Tuff Gong Studios, the property became not only Marley's office but also his home. The Wailers were scheduled to open 17 shows in the US for Sly and the Family Stone.
After four shows, the band was fired because they were more popular than the acts they were opening for. The Wailers disbanded in 1974, with each of the three main members pursuing a solo career. Despite the break-up, Marley continued recording as "Bob Marley & The Wailers". His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl "Wya" Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on percussion.
The "I Threes", consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley's wife, Rita, provided backing vocals. In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, with a live version of "No Woman, No Cry", from the Live! album.
This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which reached the Top 50 of the Billboard Soul Charts. On 3 December 1976, two days before "Smile Jamaica", a free concert organised by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley's home. Taylor and Marley's wife sustained serious injuries but later made full recoveries. Bob Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm.
Marley left Jamaica at the end of 1976, and after a month-long "recovery and writing" sojourn at the site of Chris Blackwell's Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, arrived in England, where he spent two years in self-imposed exile. Whilst in England, he recorded the albums Exodus and Kaya. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: "Exodus", "Waiting in Vain", "Jamming", and "One Love" (which interpolates Curtis Mayfield's hit, "People Get Ready"). During his time in London, he was arrested and received a conviction for possession of a small quantity of cannabis.
In 1978, Marley returned to Jamaica and performed at another political concert, the One Love Peace Concert, again in an effort to calm warring parties. Under the name Bob Marley and the Wailers 11 albums were released, four live albums and seven studio albums. The releases included Babylon by Bus, a double live album with 13 tracks. This album, and specifically the final track "Jamming" with the audience in a frenzy captured the intensity of Marley's live performances Survival, a defiant and politically charged album, was released in 1979. Tracks such as "Zimbabwe", "Africa Unite", "Wake Up and Live", and "Survival" reflected Marley's support for the struggles of Africans. His appearance at the Amandla Festival in Boston in July 1979 showed his strong opposition to South African apartheid, which he already had shown in his song "War" in 1976.
Uprising (1980) was Bob Marley's final studio album and is one of his most religious productions; it includes "Redemption Song" and "Forever Loving Jah". Confrontation, released posthumously in 1983, contained unreleased material recorded during Marley's lifetime, including the hit "Buffalo Soldier" and new mixes of singles previously only available in Jamaica In July 1977, Marley was found to have a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. Contrary to urban legend, this lesion was not primarily caused by an injury during a football match that year but was instead a symptom of already-existing cancer. He had to see two doctors before a biopsy was made, which confirmed the deadliest kind of skin cancer: acral lentiginous melanoma. Unlike other melanomas, usually on skin exposed to the sun, acral lentiginous melanoma occurs in places that are easy to miss, such as the soles of the feet, or under toenails.
Marley turned down his doctors' advice to have his toe amputated (which would have hindered his performing career), citing his religious beliefs, and instead, the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft was taken from his thigh to cover the area.
Despite his illness, he continued touring and was in the process of scheduling a world tour in 1980. The album Uprising was released in May 1980. The band completed a major tour of Europe, where it played its biggest concert to 100,000 people in Milan, Italy. After the tour Marley went to the United States, where he performed two shows at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the Uprising Tour. He collapsed while jogging in Central Park and was taken to hospital, where it was found that his cancer had spread to his brain, lungs, and liver. Marley's last concert took place two days later at the Stanley Theater (now The Benedum Center For The Performing Arts) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 23 September 1980.
Shortly afterward, Marley's health deteriorated as his cancer had spread throughout his body. The rest of the tour was cancelled and Marley sought treatment at the clinic of Josef Issels in Bavaria, Germany, where he underwent an alternative cancer treatment called Issels treatment partly based on avoidance of certain foods, drinks, and other substances. After eight months of effectively failing to treat his advancing cancer, Marley boarded a plane for his home in Jamaica. During the flight Marley's vital functions worsened. After landing in Miami, Florida, he was taken to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital (later University of Miami Hospital) for immediate medical attention, where he died on 11 May 1981, aged 36, due to the spread of melanoma to his lungs and brain. His final words to his son Ziggy were "Money can't buy life."
Marley was given a state funeral in Jamaica on 21 May 1981, which combined elements of Ethiopian Orthodoxy and Rastafari tradition. He was buried in a chapel near his birthplace with his guitar.
On 21 May 1981, Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga delivered the final funeral eulogy to Marley, saying: “His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”