This past weekend, VH1 aired the 2012 documentary “Marley” on the life and music career of Bob Marley.
“Marley” takes a very introspective look at Bob Marley’s early days in Jamaica and his rise to stardom and crossover success. The rock documentary takes fans inside his personal life, revealing a few new tidbits of information on one of the most important figures in world music.
30 years after his death in 1981, Bob Marley’s legend has grown larger than life. With a renewed interest by a new generation of music lover;, Marley’s name and image has been attached to new music releases, t-shirts, websites and products globally.
“Marley” is the perfect documentary for those who already think they know everything there is to know about Bob Marley. One of the greatest things about Bob Marley is that, even though we think we know everything about him, we always learn something else. So here are a few facts that I’ve learned about one of my favorite artists of all time.
1. Bob Marley worked as a welder.
After marrying Rita Marley and trying to make his way as a struggling artist; Bob eventually moved to the United States with his mother Cedella Booker, where he found work in a car plant as a welder. Having no passion for work, Marley eventually left the U.S. for Jamaica and went back to his music full time.
2. Peter Tosh once referred to Bob Marley as “my student”
Peter Tosh along with Marley and Bunny Wailer was an original member of The Wailers. Tosh is credited as saying “Bob Marley was my student,” because legend has it that he was the one the taught Bob how to play the guitar. However, in an interview later in his career, Bob Marley claimed to be a self-taught guitar player. Who’s telling the truth? We’ll probably never know?
3. The Wailers debut album, Catch a Fire, included elements of blues/rock guitar to appeal to British and American listeners.
Island Records founder Chris Blackwell knew that for The Wailers to be successful, he had to market them as a black rock group. So, he employed American musician Wayne Perkins to add this element to the album.
4. When Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left ‘The Wailers’ to pursue solo careers, the group nearly lost their record contract.
It wasn’t as smooth a transition from the original Wailer’s lineup to the one that made its debut on the Natty Dread album in 1974. Many rumors say that Peter Tosh left the group stemming from a backstage altercation with Bob while they were on tour, while some say both Peter and Bunny left because of bitterness towards Bob starting to receive top billing. Regardless, the group was on the brink of losing their deal with Island Records once it happened. Subsequently, Bob and the band formulated a plan to include the backing vocals of Marcia Griffiths, Jody Mowatt and Bob’s wife Rita, collectively known as the I-Threes, and the new Bob Marley and The Wailers was born.
5. Bob Marley belonged to a church/organization in Jamaica known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Eventually growing to be a staunch Rastafarian, Bob did his best to adhere to many of the edicts and rules that were set forth by his faith. In the Twelve Tribes, Bob belonged to the Tribe of Joseph and made this fact known by using a quote from the Bible about Joseph on the Rastaman Vibration album.