I Shot the Sheriff
September 23, 1980: Robert Nesta Marley, Jamaican singer, songwriter, and guitarist plays his last concert. Bob Marley brought reggae music off the island and into the world. His best known songs mix reggae with rock and rhythm and blues music.
Bob Marley was born in Nine Miles in Saint Ann, Jamaica. His father, Norval, was a white Jamaican born to British parents – he was a naval officer and a plantation overseer. He married a black Jamaican woman. Norval provided financial support to his wife and child but saw them rarely. Bob was ten when his father died, forcing his mother and him to move into Kingston’s Trenchtown slum. Because of his mixed heritage, Bob was often bullied and so he learned to defend himself.
Bob became friends with Bunny Livingston, later Bunny Wailer, and they began playing music together. Bob also met Joe Higgs, a local singer and devout Rastafarian – one who believes that Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is the human embodiment of God. Higgs introduced his friends to Peter McIntosh – Peter Tosh. The Wailers formed a group in 1963 and continued together until 1974.
Marley is a legend in the Rastafarian movement. He adopted the dreadlocks and use of marijuana as a sacrament in the late 1960s. He began his shows proclaiming his religious beliefs. He was diagnosed with cancer in July 1977 but refused surgery because he was afraid it would affect his dancing and his belief system stated that the body must remain whole. The cancer spread. His last concert was at Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He died on May 11, 1981.
“Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living?”
“Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright”
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!”
“My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.” – all from Bob Marley
Also on this day, in 1999 a Qantas jet almost crashes.