Celebrating Black History :: Hon. Robert Nesta Marley OM :: King of Reggae
Hon. Robert Nesta Marley OM
Oil on Canvas 14x14
Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley, OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim, blending mostly reggae, ska and rocksteady in his compositions. Starting out in 1963 with the group the Wailers, he forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide. The Wailers would go on to release some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry.
After the Wailers disbanded in 1974, Marley pursued a solo career upon his relocation to England that culminated in the release of the album Exodus in 1977, which established his worldwide reputation and produced his status as one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records. 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". In 1978 he released the album Kaya, which included the hit singles "Is This Love" and "Satisfy My Soul".
Diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma in 1977, Marley died on 11 May 1981 in Miami at age 36. He was a committed Rastafari who infused his music with a sense of spirituality. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularising reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. Marley has also evolved into a global symbol and inspired numerous items of merchandise.
Bob Marley was born 6 February 1945 on the farm of his maternal grandfather in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, to Norval Sinclair Marley (1885–1955) and Cedella Booker (1926–2008). Norval Marley was a white Jamaican originally from Sussex, England, whose family claimed Syrian Jewish origins.
Norval claimed to have been a captain in the Royal Marines; at the time of his marriage to Cedella Booker, an Afro-Jamaican then 18 years old, he was employed as a plantation overseer. Bob Marley's full name is Robert Nesta Marley, though some sources give his birth name as Nesta Robert Marley, with a story that when Marley was still a boy a Jamaican passport official reversed his first and middle names because Nesta sounded like a girl's name. Norval provided financial support for his wife and child but seldom saw them as he was often away. Bob Marley attended Stepney Primary and Junior High School which serves the catchment area of Saint Ann.
In 1955, when Bob Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at the age of 70. Marley's mother went on to marry Edward Booker, an American civil servant. The relationship brought Marley two American brothers: Richard and Anthony.