Twenty Interesting Facts About Bob Marley

1. Bob Marley was a white Jamaican originally from Sussex, England, whose family claimed Syrian Jewish origins.

2. Marley was named Nesta Robert Marley.

3. A Jamaican immigration official suggested to Bob’s mom that “Nesta” sounded too much like a girl’s name. So they switched his name to Robert Nesta Marley

4. As a little kid, Bob had a knack for deeply spooking people by successfully predicting their futures by reading their palms. At seven, having just returned to his rural village after a year spent living in the ghettos of Kingston (Jamaica’s capital), he declared that from then on he would cease to read palms. His new destiny, he said, was to become a singer. For the rest of his life, whenever someone who knew him back when asked him to read their palms, he resolutely refused.

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5. In 1955, when Bob Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack at the age of 70.

6. Marley and Neville Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer) had been childhood friends in Nine Mile.

7. In 1963, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith were called The Teenagers.

8. They later changed the name to The Wailing Rudeboys, then to The Wailing Wailers, at which point they were discovered by record producer Coxsone Dodd, and finally to The Wailers.

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9. Tuff Gong,” the name of Bob’s recording label, was a nickname Bob earned for himself in the Kingston ghetto of Trenchtown (so named because it was built over an old drainage trench) for being exactly the wrong guy to screw with. Ever.

10. The first single “Simmer Down” for the Coxsone label became a Jamaican #1 in February 1964 selling an estimated 70,000 copies.

11. In 1966, Marley married Rita Anderson, and moved near his mother’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware in the United States for a short time, during which he worked as a DuPont lab assistant and on the assembly line at a Chrysler plant, under the alias Donald Marley.

12. Though raised as a Catholic, Marley became interested in Rastafari beliefs in the 1960s, when away from his mother’s influence.

13. After returning to Jamaica, Marley formally converted to Rastafari and began to grow dreadlocks.

14. The Wailers’ first album for Island, Catch a Fire, was released worldwide in April 1973, packaged like a rock record with a unique Zippo lighter lift-top. Initially selling 14,000 units, it didn’t make Marley a star, but received a positive critical reception

15. It was followed later that year by the album Burnin’ which included the song “I Shot the Sheriff”.

16. Eric Clapton was given the album by his guitarist George Terry in the hope that he would enjoy it. Clapton was suitably impressed and chose to record a cover version of “I Shot the Sheriff” which became his first US hit since “Layla” two years earlier and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 14 September 1974.

17. Many Jamaicans were not keen on the new reggae sound on Catch a Fire, but the Trenchtown style of Burnin found fans across both reggae and rock audiences.

18. The Wailers broke up in 1974 with each of the three main members pursuing solo careers. The reason for the breakup is shrouded in conjecture; some believe that there were disagreements amongst Bunny, Peter, and Bob concerning performances, while others claim that Bunny and Peter simply preferred solo work.

19. Peter Tosh’s given name was Winston Hubert McIntosh. “The Toughest,” as Tosh was known, was murdered in his home on Friday, September 11, 1987, by a 32-year-old hoodlum acquaintance of his named Leppo. (Tosh was a guitarist in The Wailers, and a very important reggae singer/songwriter in his own right.)

20. When Bob discovered that the reason he was still poor after being so famous for so long was that his long-time manager and friend Don Taylor had been robbing him blind, Bob beat Don to within an inch of his life. Then he fired him.

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Author's Bio: 

Sunil Rajpal

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