RIP Bob Marley who passed away 25 years ago on May 11, 2006......
From India eNews.com
New York, May 10 (DPA) The cannabis-smoking Bob Marley, the leading prophet of the Rastafarian religion who died 25 years ago on May 11, remains an enduring symbol of reggae, a Caribbean style of music that emphasises social and political grievances with mesmerising melodies.
Among Hopi Indians, Bob Marley fulfilled a centuries-old prophecy. The Nepalese consider him the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and Australian Aboriginals honour the reggae legend as a prophet for peace and the rights of the oppressed.Marley lifted his voice fiercely and poetically against the suffering in the slums of Kingston, Jamaica, and the arrogant attitude of the white upper class.
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war, me say war, Marley sang in the song War.
Marley accurately predicted his music would live on after his untimely death in a Miami hospital at age 36, when cancer had spread from a spot of melanoma on his foot to his brain.After introducing Jamaican music to the world, Marley became the first musician of that country to achieve international stardom. No other reggae musician has reached his level of fame.
Marleys popularity resurfaces with each new generation of young people as they experiment with marijuana.The many images of Marley smoking a joint continue to appear on modern-day record releases and posters, and are a rallying cry for Rastafarians who consider cannabis a part of their religion that helps them get closer to their inner spirit - and who try to defend its use as such when they are arrested.
Marley drew huge audiences around the world and he died when his star was still on the rise. Some people consider the charismatic singer and songwriter the greatest rock star of all time.
Aside from reggae, Marley gave the world dreadlocks and red, green and yellow crocheted caps - colours synonymous with the Rastafarian movement, of which Marley was a member and later its most important prophet, especially among the poor people of Jamaica where the religion developed.
Most Rastafari believe that the Ethiopian monarch Haile Selassie I, who came to power in 1930 and died in 1975, was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
The belief emerged in Jamaica under the influence of Marcus Garveys Back to Africa movement, which held Selassie to be the Black Messiah. Selassie, a devout Christian, never encouraged the belief.
Rastafari teaching is still a cornerstone in the conscience of Marley fans.
Just recently, fans in Passau, Germany, vandalized the spire of the citys cathedral by spray-painting the words Jah is mighty in the colours red, green and yellow. Jah is the Rastafari name for god.
Robert Nesta Marley was born Feb 6, 1945, in Rhoden Hall Jamaica, to a black Jamaican mother and a white British navy officer father who largely disappeared from Marley and his mothers life.
At age 14, Marley left his village to work in Kingston as a welder. In 1964, with short hair stylish at the time, he founded the group that eventually was called the Wailers with Peter Tosh.
For 10 years his fame was limited to the Caribbean island.British guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, who had risen to fame in the 60s, helped Marley achieve international recognition with his chart-topping cover version of Marleys song, I Shot the Sheriff.
In 1974, Marley released his breakthrough album Natty Dread, an immediate hit among European Bohemians and hippies in New York Citys Greenwich Village. It included the song No Woman, No Cry and soon after, Marleys albums were selling millions worldwide.
By the mid 70s Marley was so revered in Jamaica that his influence as a poet and prophet became a political threat.In December 1976, he was wounded in an attack at his home in Kingston. He left Jamaica for more than a year, releasing his biggest album to date - Exodus - in 1977 with the hit songs Jamming and One Love/People Get Ready.
By 1980, Marley was enjoying worldwide popularity and preparing for a US tour, but his health suddenly forced him to withdraw from the spotlight.He collapsed while jogging in New York Citys Central Park and underwent cancer surgery in Miami. In early 1981 he spent time at a cancer clinic in Germany, receiving treatment with herbal teas and grains.As he embarked on his return journey to the US, he collapsed in Munich airport and died only a few days later in Miami.
Marley left behind 11 children fathered with eight different women, hundreds of songs written in his relatively short career of 15 years and a steady stream of royalties.
He was honoured in Jamaica in 1990 when the country declared his birthday, Feb 6, a national holiday.