Bob Marley Biography Essay Book

Bob Marley Essay examples

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Bob Marley is a name most people know but his accomplishments and dedication to music is often overlooked. Bob was more than just a reggae artist, he was an inspiration to the country of Jamaica. He was a role model to the poverty stricken island and gave hope to many people. Bob was born on February 6, 1945 in his grandfather's house. He was the son of a poor farm girl and a British naval Captain. Soon after his birth Bob's father, Norval Marley, left his mother. He remained responsible and provided financial support and occasionally came back to see them. In the 50's a depression hit Jamaica and Bob followed his mother to West Kingston also known as Trenchtown. It was in Trenchtown were Bob's love for music began. Bob Marley's music…show more content…

The resistance continued when they were put on ships for Jamaica and America. The Africans were forced from their homes, families, and forced to live a life without freedom. They continued to fight after their arrival. The song Buffalo soldier helps many learn the way history truly happened. Jamaicans are still affected by past injustices (Dorsey 5). The majority of this population are the descendants of African slaves, forced to leave their villages some two hundred years ago to labor on Jamaican plantations for white masters.
Could You Be Loved is another song written by Bob Marley after he witnessed the terrible Jamaican school system, people living in poverty which caused the oppression of both the Jamaican and African people. Bob Marley wanted the world to know about the educational injustice taking place in The Jamaican School System. This is one of the many messages Bob Marley tried to spread across in this song. He sang of how many children could not afford to go to school because of certain rules preventing them. In the line," Don't let them fool you or even try to school you" Marley is writing about how the Jamaican school systems have a policy that says shoes must be worn in school. Many families in Jamaica cannot afford shoes, so their children were unable to attend school and receive an education. For the chorus of the song, Could you be loved, he wrote "Could you be loved….and be loved." This had a very strong meaning. Are people

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All of which makes the subtitle of Chris Salewicz’s new Marley biography — “The Untold Story” — utterly comedic. What could Salewicz, a British music journalist who once interviewed Marley, have to say about this icon that hasn’t been said before? Dowe really need another Bob bio?

The answer, in short, is no. But that doesn’t render Salewicz’s indefatigably thorough book entirely beside the point. To those inquiring minds — and they exist by the legion — who want to know what Marley ate for breakfast the day he married Rita Anderson (curried goat, rice, green bananas), or what name the Maoris in New Zealand bestowed on the beloved singer (“the Redeemer”), Salewicz’s book should be quite welcome; every detail is, to the Marley fan, a treasure-trove.

One can also make the case that a tale as rich as Marley’s never tires of the telling. After all, rarely does one man’s narrative so seamlessly collide with grander ones: the story of Jamaican music and Jamaican politics and postcolonial life in general. “Bob Marley” covers this ground, fluently moving between the public and the private. The singer was born Nesta Robert Marley on Feb. 6, 1945, to Cedella Malcolm and Capt. Norval Marley, a so-called white Jamaican who by all accounts was neither white (he was most likely of mixed racial background) nor a captain (he was a professional ne’er-do-well who, after naming his son, played a minimal role in his life). Cedella and Bob eventually relocated from “the rolling, feminine countryside” of St. Ann to Kingston, settling in Trench Town, a 1950s development — concrete units constructed around a courtyard with communal cooking facilities. There the young Marley encountered forces that shaped his life: Rastafarianism, sound systems (which Salewicz says were like “portable discos for giants”) and two fellow musicians, Bunny Living­ston and Peter Tosh, with whom he would form the Wailers.

In 1962, Jamaica attained independence, Trench Town got a sewage system and the 16-year-old Marley released his first couple of singles: non-charting ska songs for which he was paid five pounds. It was an inauspicious start to a career that proved anything but. Salewicz, who has also written a biography of Joe Strummer, follows Marley from his work with the Jamaican music producers Coxsone Dodd and Lee Perry, to his signing with the Island Records mogul Chris Blackwell and the eventual recording of “Exodus” in 1977 (named the best album of the century by Time magazine), to his starring role in “one of the key civilizing moments of the 20th century”: Jamaica’s One Love Peace Concert in 1978, during which Marley held up the hands of the vicious political rivals Edward Seaga and Michael Manley in a gesture of unity. Marley’s life indeed makes “Legend” an apt title for his most popular greatest-hits collection.

Salewicz’s prose, which veers toward flatness and cliché (“Like Barack Obama, Bob Marley is a mixed-race archetype”), can also be excruciatingly essentialist. “The very air of Jamaica seems thick with great truths and inconceivable, magical mysteries,” he writes, later calling Rastafarians “primal figures” who “could appear as archetypal and prophetic as a West African baobab tree.” He does, however, give us quotations from a full range of sources, every portentous dream had by Marley’s loved ones and gossipy bits galore: Rita gave birth to a child who may not have been Bob’s; the mob boss Paul Castellano was about to underwrite Marley’s expansion into the American market when the singer died.

With all these details, though, Salewicz doesn’t get us any closer to unraveling the two greatest mysteries of Marley’s life. First, who was behind the attack on his life in 1976, when a barrage of bullets was fired on his Kingston home? One of the two Jamaican political parties’ gang enforcers? A collector for a local gambling debt? Or, as many believe — and, Salewicz says, as Prime Minister Manley alleged — the C.I.A., anxious about Marley’s influence? Second, what were the circumstances behind his death in 1981? He underwent an operation for melanoma on his toe in 1977; three years later, he collapsed in Central Park and was told he had a terminal brain tumor. Who in his inner circle knew of his condition and might have encouraged him to remain vigilant? What sort of injections was he given during his last days at a clinic run by a former member of the SS?

Four hundred pages into this biography, I ultimately found myself staring at the singer’s photo on the cover and wondering who Bob Marley truly was. Neither minutiae nor set lists nor copies of expense reports — nor Salewicz’s pat claims about Marley’s mixed-race identity leaving him “alienated and ostracized” as a boy, nor Rita Marley’s assertion that “Bob had a lot of hurt” — ultimately provide a portrait of the artist as a human being. But that, in the end, has its benefits: it keeps Marley ever elusive, allowing for one more book, one more film, one more story that’s never been told.

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