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Remembering The Great Reggae Icon

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bobIn May 1981, Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on his way back to Jamaica, having lost an eight-month battle with cancer. He was just 36.

By that time, Marley had become an international star, the first to come from the Third World, and the leading disseminator of reggae, the distinctive, rhythm-rooted music he helped create.

Born in 1945, Robert Nesta Marley was the son of a white Jamaican plantation owner and his young Afro-Jamaican wife. After dropping out of school as a teen, Marley teamed up with Neville "Bunny" Livingston, who became known as Bunny Wailer, and Peter McIntosh, who became known as Peter Tosh.

Beginning as a ska/rock steady band, the trio became The Wailers and moved into reggae, while Marley converted to Rastafarianism, wearing the religion's trademark dreadlocks and incorporating its beliefs and social consciousness into the group's lyrics.

The Wailers, who added pop and rock to the reggae blend, were a hit in Jamaica in the early 1970s. In 1973, they released their major label debut "Catch a Fire" and, later in the year, "Burnin'," which included "Get Up, Stand Up" and "I Shot the Sheriff."

The original Wailers broke up in 1974 and Marley recruited brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett as the rhythm section for his new band, Bob Marley and The Wailers, which recorded and performed as a group until Marley's death. Aston Barrett still leads The Wailers, who are scheduled to perform Thursday at the Bourbon Theatre.

Bob Marley and The Wailers released four live albums and seven studio albums. The Wailers and Bob Marley and The Wailers have sold more than 250 million records worldwide and played to an estimated 24 million people. The posthumously released greatest hits package "Legend" has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States alone.

Among the now classic songs on "Legend" are "Is This Love," "No Woman No Cry," "Stir It Up," "One Love," "Redemption Song" and "Jamming."

SOURCE: Journal Star

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