Snapshots in History: February 6: Remembering Bob Marley

February 6, 2016 | John P.

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(Credit: Bob Marley live in concert in Dalymount Park on July 6th, 1980; Photographer: Eddie Mallin)


On February 6 and beyond, take a moment to remember the life and music of singer-songwriter Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley (or Nesta Robert Marley – apparently, Marley later inverted his first and middle names) (Born: February 6, 1945 at Nine Mile, Jamaica; Died: May 11, 1981 at Miami, Florida). Marley developed a global following for his reggae music and his commitment to Rastafarianism.

Bob Marley and the Wailers were a reggae band that made music and toured between 1963 and 1974 after which Marley teamed up with a new back-up band during 1974-1976 and narrowly escaped assassination preceding a “Smile Jamaica” concert intended to ease competing political tensions in Jamaica. Marley relocated to the United Kingdom during 1977-1978 where he recorded the album Exodus that stayed on the British album charts for 56 straight weeks. (The album included the songs "Exodus", "Waiting in Vain", "Jamming", and "One Love (People Get Ready)". Marley returned to Jamaica in 1978 to perform at the One Love Peace Concert during which he was able to get then-Prime Minister Michael Manley (who had served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War Two) and then-Leader of the Opposition Edward Seaga to shake hands on stage.

Marley released the album Survival in 1979 to show his support of African people, followed by Uprising in 1980 that included his acoustic folk classic Redemption Song. That songdemonstrated Marley coming to terms with his mortality as the cancer that was ravaging his body at the time would soon take his life in 1981. 

Consider the following titles for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:


Marley Africa road trip

Marley Africa Road Trip

Three of Bob Marley’s sons retrace their father’s African journey in 2010, 30 years after Bob Marley performed an important concert to celebrate the independence of Zimbabwe.

Bob Marley conquering lion of reggae

Bob Marley: Conquering Lion of Reggae

The author provides the reader with a well-researched biography of Bob Marley built upon interviews conducted with Marley himself before his death and several of his associates. Marley was a champion of human rights, self-determination, rebellion, and the role of the individual who expressed himself through the power of reggae music.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley

This pictorial work provides snapshots of different points in Bob Marley’s life, juxtaposing success with an attempt on his life.

The future is the beginning the words and wisdom of Bob Marley

The Future is the Beginning

Cedella Marley (Bob Marley's Daughter) and Rastafarian expert Gerald Hausman compiled quotations gleaned from interviews with Bob Marley that outlined his personal, philosophical and spiritual beliefs.

Bob Marley a rebel life

Bob Marley: A Rebel Life

Photographer Dennis Morris formed a close friendship with Bob Marley. The photographic portraits demonstrated the trust that Marley showed Morris while he was being photographed.


Need more? Here are some more items from Toronto Public Library collections to consider:

Marley/ Bob Marley, Carlton "Pee-Wee" Fraser, Cedella Booker, Chris Blackwell, and Ziggy Marley

Watch this documentary about the influential impact of Bob Marley upon the music and sociopolitical scene, made with the support of the Marley family.

Kaya [35th anniversary deluxe ed.]/ Bob Marley and the Wailers

Marley [the original soundtrack]/ Bob Marley and the Wailers

Live forever September 23, 1980, Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA/ Bob Marley and the Wailers

Listen to the music of Bob Marley’s last recorded concert.

Please visit Toronto Public Library’s Arts & Culture blog to view Bill V.’s blog post entitled:

Bob Marley's Redemption Song - the Canadian connection.