Worshiped by millions, Rastafarian reggae superstar Bob Marley captivated audiences worldwide. We delved deep to find some hidden truths about the Jamaican legend.
1. Bob Marley’s original name was Nesta Robert Marley but his middle and first name were swapped around to preserve his masculinity after a comment was made that Nesta was seen as a girl’s name. This was not the only thing which was noticeably different from his birth certificate. After Bob was born on 6th February 1945, it took his mother a while to finally get him officially registered, meaning the date on his birth certificate was incorrect, stating he was born on 6th April.
2. From the age of four it was discovered Bob Marley could read palms. When Cedella (Bob’s mother) first heard of this from relatives and neighbours she took it as a joke. These palm readings invariably came true, which left his mother quite shaken. When Bob was a lot older and returned to Kingston, a woman asked him to read her palm – he replied: “I’m not reading no more hand: I’m singing now.”
3. In Kingston Bob Marley was known by the natives as a “white boy”. This was due to his mixed raced origins being clearly visible in his facial skin. This made Bob feel very alienated although was a huge aid in helping him build up his confidence and self-esteem, turning him into the man he was.
4. When Bob was at school his best subject was mathematics. He didn’t stay in school for long though, and left at a young age when he managed to secure himself as an apprentice welder. After a dangerous injury in which a piece of metal flew into his eye, he decided to leave, ultimately for the whole world’s benefit.
5. After being arrested for possession of marijuana, the singer spent a month in prison, during which time he met many prisoners that he formed strong relationships with. These prisoners motivated him to write songs with a more political message.
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6. The record label Tuff Gong was set up by Bob. It was named after his self-made nickname. This record label now boasts one of the largest audio recording facilities in the Caribbean.
7. Bob was well known for being a bit of a ladies man. Throughout his life he had an involvement in many different women’s lives. Several of these women bore him children – he had one main chat-up line: “Yuh wan have ma baby?” Apparently he used this a little bit too much.
8. Once he’d found success Marley became extremely generous with this money. Having grown up in a poor family in Jamaica he knew how difficult it was to get by. He decided to put his goodwill into practice by buying houses for friends and supported many of the poor in Jamaica.
9. A 1977 football injury led doctors to discover a malignant melanoma in Marley’s toe. They recommended amputation, but he refused for religious reasons. The tumour then spread, which ultimately caused his death.
10. When Bob was terminally ill he wanted to end his days in Jamaica, but unfortunately, on the Germany to Jamaica journey, didn’t make it past Miami. Ever the romantic, he was buried on home turf along with a soccer ball, his Gibson Les Paul guitar, and a bud of marijuana.
Words by Jess Longstaff