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“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!”

From the moment he started out in 1963 with  the Wailers, Bob Marley forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that resonated with audiences around the world. Here are 26 chilled facts about Bob Marley.


29. The Origin Story

Bob Marley was born in Jamaica. His mother was only 18 when he was born, and his father was a white Englishman who already well into his late 60’s. He did not spend any time with the family, but financially supported them.

Bob Marely facts

28. Bye, Daddy

When Bob Marley was 5 years old, he went to live with his father. His father dropped him off with an elderly couple, and he didn’t bother bringing him to kindergarten. He died when Bob was only 10 years old.

Bob Marely facts

27. The Holy Ghost

His mother raised him to be a Catholic, but once he got older, he became Rastafari, which is a Christian religion that originated in Jamaica.

Bob Marely facts

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26. Long Hair, Don’t Care

Rastafari do not believe in cutting their hair, and they believe in healthy eating and generally not altering your body’s natural state. This is why Bob Marley started styling his hair in dreadlocks. He made the hairstyle popular all over the world.

Bob Marely facts

23. White Jamaican

Since his father was white, and because his skin was paler than some of his friends, Bob Marley was called “white” by his classmates. Throughout his life, he was quoted saying that the color of your skin doesn’t matter, and it is far more important what kind of person you are. “Me don’t dip on nobody’s side. Me don’t dip on the black man’s side, not the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side.”

Bob Marely facts

22. Spooky

When he was a little kid, he would read people’s palms to tell them their futures. He was eerily good at it, giving people very accurate predictions.

Bob Marely facts

21. Cover Story

In 1976, Rolling Stone magazine voted him (and his band) the “Best Band of the Year”.

Bob Marely facts

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20. Full House

He married  Alpharita Constantia Rita Anderson, and they had three kids together. She also had children from a previous marriage. In total, Bob Marley was the father of 11 children.

Bob Marely facts

19. Footballer

Bob Marley loved playing soccer so much that he was quoted saying, “Football is freedom, a whole universe.” When he went on tour, he put in his contract that he must have access to a soccer field everywhere he went.

Bob Marely facts

18. Skipper

When he played football, friends claimed that he was just as good as someone on the professional Brazilian team. Everyone called him “Skipper” because once he began dribbling the ball with his feet, there was no way to get it away from him.

Bob Marely facts

17. The Fatherland

Bob Marley was a Rastafarian, which is a religion prominently practiced in Jamaica. His beliefs had a huge influence on his music. Many people say that without Marley, Rastafari would have never spread to the United States.

Bob Marely facts

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16. Smoke Up

Bob Marley was very honest about the fact that he smoked a lot of “herb.” His music and his image became associated with stoner culture. The Jamaican colors and posters of his face are still plastered across college dorms to this day.

Bob Marely facts

15. In Ohm

Marley wasn’t supportive of weed for recreational use. He used it to meditate, and encouraged others to do the same. “Instead a get foolish, you sit down and you can meditate and be someone. Rum teach you to be a drunkard, and herb teach you to be someone.”

Bob Marely facts

14. Cultural Pride

He believed in the unity of all African people, regardless of whatever country they came from.

Bob Marely facts

13. Nothing But a Name

Originally, his band’s name was called “The Teenagers”, and after testing out a few names for a while, they called themselves “The Wailers”.

Bob Marely facts

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12. The Diamond State

In 1966, he moved to Delaware in the USA. He worked for DuPont as a a lab assistant, and also was an assembly line worker at the Chrysler plant.

Bob Marely facts

11. Busted

When he lived in England, he was arrested for possession of marijuana.

Bob Marely facts

10. My feet is my only carriage

His most popular song all over the world was “No Woman No Cry.” It also made it to Rolling Stone’s top 500 songs of all time.

Bob Marely facts

9. Turn the Radio Up

February became National Reggae Month in Jamaica in his honor.

Bob Marely facts

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8. Where’s My Money?!

Even well into his worldwide fame, Bob Marley was still very poor. It turns out his manager, Don Taylor, was stealing the majority of his earnings. Bob beat up Don, and fired him.

Bob Marely facts

7. The Attempt

In 1976, a gang attempted to assassinate Bob Marley. Interestingly, Don Taylormay have saved Bob’s life: when the seven gunmen burst into Bob’s home, Don stepped in front of Bob. Don was critically injured. In fact, he was nearly pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, until a doctor examined him more closely. He was then flown to Miami, where surgeons removed a bullet from his spine.

Bob Marely facts

6. In Thy Honor

There is a life-sized statue of Bob Marley in Ethiopia.

Bob Marely facts

5. Peace for All

In 1978, the United Nations gave him the Peace Medal of the Third World for all of his work being a voice of political justice for Jamaica and the African people. In his acceptance speech, he talked about Rastafari, and said, “You need to listen to God”.

Bob Marely facts

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4. The Worst Disease

In 1977, there was a tumor found under one of his toe nails. He refused to have it amputated, and it ended up spreading throughout his body. When Bob died in 1981, they buried him with his guitar.

Bob Marely facts

3. Wise Words

On his deathbed, Bob Marley told his son, “Money can’t buy life.” They were his final words.

Bob Marely facts

2. Saying Goodbye

In 1981, he was given the award of “Jamaican Order of Merit”, which is awarded to someone who has contributed to Jamaican culture. When he died, the Jamaican government gave him an elaborate funeral.

Bob Marely facts

1. Posthumous Sales

In 2014, Forbes ranked Bob Marley as being one of the richest dead celebrities. Years after his death, his music sales were still high on the charts.

Bob Marely facts

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6
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