How did legendary Bob Marley get his start in music? Just like many others before him, Marley’s path took a winding route, with forks along the way that led away from his humble start in life and took him to the musical world stage. His father worked on a ship as a quartermaster for the British West Indian company. He was 32 years older than Bob Marley’s mother when they met. His father was of Caucasian ancestry, and received pressure and negative feedback from his family, and because of this, Bob Marley did not see his father often.
His mother moved when he was a young teenager, moving the family to Kingston from their home in northern Jamaica. However, they could not afford to live in Kingston proper, and instead lived in an adjoining shanty town just out of town known as Trenchtown. Here, Bob Marley met the people who would go on to be his band members. These new friends included Peter McIntosh and Bunny Livingston. At his home in Trenchtown is where Marley got his humble start and the seeds were sown for him to grow into one of the most influential and memorable musicians in music history.
It may not seem like a recipe for success and worldwide fame, however the music industry is known for such Cinderella stories. At least it used to be before corporate bigwigs decided they didn’t care for the risk. While corporate interests did influence music even then, it pales in comparison to today. During music’s heyday, an artist who had talent, a message, the desire, and a little luck, could break out from their humble beginnings and become a rich and famous musical success, a story that is hard to replicate. Could Bob Marley succeed in today’s industry? The answer is a topic of debate.
Fortunately for everyone who enjoyed the rise of Reggae and Bob Marley to musical prominence, it did happen. His influence could be felt everywhere. His message of peace went beyond just his music and religion. This young boy who grew up during adversity in a confusing time managed to not only succeed but serve as an inspiration for millions around the globe. His message and his music continue to inspire today. In fact, young people are still plastering their walls with posters of Marley as they jam to his music and use it to inspire art and music of their own.
We are lucky to live in a time that makes it easy to record music and pass it from generation to generation. It has been many decades since Bob Marley’s musical debut, but his music is still popular with today’s youth. It makes you question just how much longer his gift of music will inspire.