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Bob Marley

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(1945 – 1981)

Bob Marley (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981), born Nesta Robert Marley which was later to be changed by passport officials to Robert Nesta Marley, was a Jamaican , guitarist, and activist. He was the most widely known writer and performer of , and more specifically . He is famous for popularising the genre outside of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Much of his music dealt with the struggles of the spiritually wealthy rasta and/or spiritually powerful Jah Rastafari.

Bob Marley was a member of this Rastafari movement, whose culture was a key element in the development of reggae. Bob Marley became the leading proponent of the Rastafari, taking their music out of socially deprived areas of Jamaica and onto the international music scene.

Now considered a “Rasta” prophet, Marley’s adoption of the characteristic Rastafarian dreadlocks and famous use of marijuana as a sacred sacrament in the late sixties were an integral part of his persona. He is said to have entered every performance proclaiming the divinity of Jah Rastafari.

A few months before his death, Marley was baptised into the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and took the name Berhane Selassie (meaning the Light of the Holy Trinity in Amharic).

His best known crossover songs are a mixture of reggae, rock, and rhythm and blues, which include “I Shot the Sheriff”, “No Woman No Cry”, “Exodus”, “Could You Be Loved”, “Jamming”, and “Redemption Song”. His posthumous album Legend (1984) became the best-selling reggae album ever, with sales of more than 12 million copies.

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