Would you like to learn some interesting facts about Bob Marley? A man who is probably the most important figure in the history of reggae? Well, here we will share some fascinating details of his life which reveal how he became a legend.
Who was Bob Marley?
Born in 1945, in Nine Mile, Bob Marley was the son of Cedella Booker and Norval Marley. When he was a teenager, he moved to Kingston. Then, he went to the U.S. and moved to Delaware after getting married. After working with different record labels, Bob Marley started being successful and well-known when he signed with Island Records. Since then, he became one the most important figures of reggae, mixing it with other music genres like ska. He was recognized by his unique live performances and the lyrics of his songs, which were full of meaningful messages related to the history and identity of Rastafarianism and Africans.
Interesting Facts about Bob Marley
1. His father was white.
As we mentioned, his father was called Norval Marley. His family was from England, but he was Jamaican. He married Cedella Booker when she was 18. A year later, they had Bob. He didn’t really get to know his father, as he spent most of his time traveling. However, Norval sent money to Cedella regularly but suffered from a heart attack when Bob was ten and died.
2. His real name wasn’t Bob.
Bob’s given name was Robert Nesta Marley. However, there are other versions that claim that his given name was the other way around, Nesta Robert Marley. According to the story, when Bob was a boy, they switched his names because it was pointed out that “Nesta” was the name of a girl.
3. He was bullied for being mixed thanks to his white dad.
Although Marley didn’t brag about having English roots, people at school and in his neighborhood made fun of him. They called him “white boy”.
4. He thought that the way to be successful was forming a musical group.
When he was a teenager, Bob met Bunny Wailer, with whom he started to make music. Once in Kingston, they formed a group with Peter Tosh, a guy they met when they were receiving music classes. They were educated by a singer called Joe Higgs. They learned to play musical instruments, and Marley learned how to play the guitar.
Other musicians joined the group and became the Wailers. They started recording some songs and performing in different cities, but they weren’t nearly as popular as they would be after signing with Island Records. They performed in England and the U.S., making reggae very popular outside the borders of Jamaica.
5. Although he was married, Marley had several affairs with other women.
Bob Marley married Rita Anderson in 1966 and was with her until his death. However, everybody knew that he had romantic relationships with other women. He was especially close to Cindy Breakspeare, a Canadian model who was Miss World in 1976.
Rita talks about this on her book No woman no cry: My life with Bob Marley. She says that even though she supported Marley until the end and raised some of the children he had with other women, she was deeply affected by his actions.
Marley had at least 11 children of which 4 are Rita’s. Nevertheless, it has been claimed that he had more children.
6. He went through an assassination attempt.
In 1976, there was a lot of political tension in Jamaica. There was a conflict that mainly took place on the streets, among bullets and violence. Marley was supposed to sing at a concert to bring peace to Jamaica. However, there were some people who thought he was supporting one of the political parties. That’s why a couple of days before the concert, some unidentified men went to his house and shot inside there.
Although he and his wife were injured, they recovered. Bob did his performance anyways.
7. He died of cancer.
Marley discovered he had malignant melanoma. As it was located under a toenail, his doctor suggested amputating his toe. However, Marley refused because of his religious beliefs. They only removed his nail and his nail bed.
As his cancer wasn’t treated, he suffered from metastasis and died four years later.
8. He’s one of the celebrities that has earned one the biggest amounts of money after death.
According to Forbes, Bob Marley was the fifth highest-paid death celebrity in 2018. It is undeniable that Marley’s legacy is incredible, and his family made sure that people kept listening to his music all around the world. And of course, his albums continued to be sold. Marley is on the list along with celebrities like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and John Lennon.
I hope that you enjoyed learning facts about Bob Marley. If you want to learn more about historical figures, visit historical figures page.