Robert Nesta Marley was born February 6, 1945, in rural St. Ann's Parish, he left home at 14 to pursue a music career in Kingston, becoming a pupil of local singer and devout Rastafarian Joe Higgs. He cut his first single, "Judge Not," in 1962 for Leslie Kong.In 1963 Marley teamed with fellow singers Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston, Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso, and Cherry Smith to form the vocal group the Teenagers; in early 1964 the group's follow-up, "Simmer Down," topped the Jamaican charts. A series of singles including "Let Him Go (Rude Boy Get Gail)," "Dancing Shoes," "Jerk in Time," "Who Feels It Knows It," and "What Am I to Do" followed, and in all, the Wailers recorded some 70 tracks for Dodd before disbanding in 1966. On February 10 of that year, Marley married Rita Anderson, a singer in the group the Soulettes; she later enjoyed success as a member of the vocal trio the I-Threes.
In 1973, Marley and his then band “Wailers” released first of their albums outside of Jamaica, and immediately earned worldwide acclaim; the follow-up, Burnin', launched the track "I Shot the Sheriff," a Top Ten hit for Eric Clapton in 1974. Marley then brought in the I-Threes. The new lineup proceeded to tour the world prior to releasing their 1975 breakthrough album, Natty Dread, scoring their first U.K. Top 40 hit with the classic "No Woman, No Cry." Sold-out shows at the London Lyceum, where Marley played to racially mixed crowds, yielded the superb Live! As great as Marley's fame had grown outside of Jamaica, at home he was viewed as a figure of almost mystical proportions, a poet and prophet whose every word had the nation's collective ear.
Released in 1977, “Exodus” became his biggest record to date, generating the hits "Jamming," "Waiting in Vain," and "One Love/People Get Ready". 1980 loomed as Marley's biggest year yet; a tour of the U.S. was announced, but he collapsed while jogging in New York's Central Park, and it was discovered he suffered from cancer that had spread to his brain, lungs, and liver. Uprising was the final album released in Marley's lifetime -- he passed on May 11, 1981, at age 36. Posthumous efforts including 1983's Confrontation, the best-selling 1984 retrospective Legend, and the 2012 documentary Marley kept his music alive, and his renown continued to grow in the years following his death -- even decades after the fact, he remains synonymous with reggae's worldwide popularity. In the wake of her husband's passing, Rita Marley scored a solo hit with "One Draw.”
Bob Marley was the first Jamaican artist to achieve international superstardom, in the process introducing the music of his native island nation to the far-flung corners of the globe. Marley's music gave voice to the day-to-day struggles of the Jamaican experience, vividly capturing not only the plight of the country's impoverished and oppressed but also the devout spirituality that remains their source of strength. His songs of faith, devotion, and revolution created a legacy that continues to live on not only through the music of his extended family but also through generations of artists the world over touched by his genius.