Happy Birthday Bob Marley: the social legacy of a legend

Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerl...
Image via Wikipedia

Whether or not you’re a fan of Bob Marley is mostly immaterial however; you would have to be exceedingly young, or something of a recluse, to be able to say “I’ve never heard of him” but, apart from his music, what did he leave us with when he died?

Over three decades have passed since his death but regardless of that, many of the words that Bob Marley left us with mean, he is still revered, immortalised and still something of an international icon to society.

Long before I actually understood many of the social aspects underpinning his music, the rhythmic sounds of Caribbean Reggae and SKA grabbed me, and consequently, ensured that I was destined to be a lifelong fan of Bob Marley and his talent.

Marley’s music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his homeland, and he is considered to have given voice to the specific political and cultural nexus of Jamaica…(wikipedia.org)

I can only assume that I’m not alone in this admiration of his musical talent. The 1984 compilation album Legend, released three years after his death, subsequently became reggae’s best-selling album.

Protestors around the world, whether those at Occupy Wall St. styled protests or elsewhere, continue to chantGet Up Stand Up … “Some people think a great God will come down from the sky, take away everything and make everybody feel high/but if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth and now we see the light, we’re gonna stand up for our rights!” (NDTVMovies)

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To those who love Bob Marley, he was nothing short of a Legend… To those who just like his music but know little of his life, there is probably no greater literary resource than Timothy White‘s book Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley.  Tim White wrote extensively on Marley, reggae and Caribbean music and culture for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and other leading publications. His close contact with Marley, his family and inner circle of friends led to his being granted access to private papers, photographs and memorabilia.

In more recent years Marley’s music has been an inspiration for so many, not least the Playing for Change Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to world change through the medium of music.

A little over a decade ago, a small group of documentary filmmakers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has blossomed into a global sensation called Playing For Change, a project including musicians of every level of renown, that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living – Bob Marley

Thankfully, despite his untimely demise, the legacy of Bob Marley and his words still live on and I for one would have to say – lng may it continue – Happy Birthday Bob!

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