Forty years ago, legendary reggae singer Bob Marley died of cancer in Miami, United States of America.
Forty after, his rich anthems of struggle and peace, discontent and hope, still reverberate globally, especially in his native Jamaica.
It’s been four decades since Bob Marley’s death, a period longer than the reggae icon’s brief but potent life that skin cancer ended when he was 36.
Yet, Marley lives on as a voice of the dispossessed, the palpable vibrancy, spirit of protest and moral zeal of his songs including “One Love,” “Redemption Song” and “I Shot The Sheriff” enduring in a way few bodies of popular music have ever done.
His hit Buffalo Soldier was the singer’s biggest in the UK, reaching number four in May 1983.
The 1977 album Exodus was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine.
His rich anthems of peace and struggle, hope and discontent, still reverberate globally and especially in his native Jamaica, a small nation whose rich culture its most famous son popularised on an international stage.
“It is said the brightest stars sometimes don’t burn as long and, in many ways, Bob Marley was our brightest star; he accomplished a lot in a short period of time,” said Judy Mowatt, an original member of the influential I-Threes trio whose vocals backed Marley.
“Looking back now, I believe in many ways, he was before his time,” Mowatt told.
“His words have been prophetic – he was a man who believed everything he sung, it wasn’t just lyrics and music.”
Marley was born in 1945 to a white middle class father and a black mother, in Jamaica.
His childhood was spent in poverty and he had little contact with his father, a naval officer who worked for the British government.
He left home at 14 years old to pursue a music career in Kingston.
In 1972, Marley arrived in Britain with his band The Wailers to tour with Johnny Nash in the hope of launching his international career.