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15 Bob Marley Facts To Lively Up Yourself

Read on to learn all about the background, message and legacy of the world’s greatest reggae musician!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  March 17th 2024

Bob Marley’s career might have ended a while ago now, but his music lives on! Bob Marley is one of the most popular musicians of all time, and his life and work created a whole genre of music - reggae! Bob's popularity helped him spread an important message of love and resistance to a huge audience! But more on that in a moment! 

If you’re after some other facts we’ve got you covered - we’ve got lots of black history month facts and quizzes, pop music facts, and even these totally unrelated crazy fun facts!

But never mind all that - let’s read on and find out a little more about Bob!

1. Early Life in Jamaica

Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in the small village of Nine Mile, Jamaica. Growing up, his family was poor but all amazing musicians. Even from a young age Bob found happiness in music, and was inspired by the sounds of reggae and ska that surrounded him. Turns out he was pretty good at it!

2. The Wailers

Alongside his pals Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, Marley formed the band "The Wailers" in the early 1960s. They started with styles known as ska and rocksteady, and eventually came up with something called reggae! The genre of reggae would soon become Bob Marley's most famous creation! Whilst there are lots of other early reggae artists, Bob is often credited with making it what it is.

3. Bob Catches Fire!

Catch a Fire was Bob Marley’s breakthrough album that came out in 1973. It was the start of Bob’s superstar career. It introduced the world to reggae and put Bob Marley & The Wailers in the global music hall of fame - and he’s still there to this day!

4. His most famous album?

Bob Marley | Island Records

Well, that’s debatable! But Bob Marley's 1977 album, "Exodus," is considered by a lot of people as one of the greatest albums of all time. It includes hits like "One Love" and "Three Little Birds," huge hits that made him famous all over the world.

5. Bob and Rastafarianism

Marley's spirituality and belief in the Rastafarian religion had a massive influence on his music. His songs often carried messages of peace, love, and social justice. And whilst this gave his music a religious flavour, it also boosted the popularity of the religion, too!

6. No Woman, No Cry

This 1975 classic reggae banger was inspired by Marley's experiences growing up in the Trench Town neighborhood of Kingston, Jamaica. The song is Bob’s reflection on the struggles of his life - and is much loved at karaoke parties too! The song broke records in the charts, and Bob gave his friend Vincent the royalty money to keep his soup kitchen running in a poor part of Kingston, Jamaica.

7. The 1978 One Love Peace Concert

Bob Marley used his influence for positive change. At the One Love Peace Concert in Jamaica, he brought together political rivals on stage, holding their hands in a gesture for peace. Bob firmly believed that music could heal the world!

8. He died early

Unfortunately for Bob and the world - Marley died of an illness at the young age of 36. This was in 1981, but even after death Bob continued to have a huge effect. His family released albums after his death, he was given awards - and there are still movies and TV shows about him being made to this day!

9. He Finally Gets a Grammy!

Marley received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, recognizing his gigantic impact on music and culture. Though he wasn’t there to see it, it’s a very impressive trophy to add to his collection!

10. Buffalo Soldier

One of Bob Marley’s most famous songs was also released after his death.  Released posthumously in 1983, this song tells the story of African American soldiers in the late 1800s and their struggles. It’s a great example of how Bob was able to tell historical stories through music.

11. Marley's Children

Ziggy Marley | Youtube

Bob Marley had lots of children, including Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, and Cedella, who all followed in their dad’s musical footsteps. The Marley family is still contributing to the music industry, and his grandkids are keeping it going now too! Here's a pic of Ziggy doing what he does best.

12. UN Peace Medal

A cheeky gold medal surrounded by splats

In 1978, the UN recognised Bob Marley's commitment to peace and justice, and awarded him the Peace Medal of the Third World. His music often carried strong messages of unity and equality, and having that recognised by the UN was huge!

13. The World’s Most Famous Dreads

The image of Bob Marley with his trademark dreadlocks, usually with a Rastafarian flag or Jamaican colours, is one of the most iconic images there is. It’s a symbol of reggae music and the fight against oppression - and you can find it all over the world.

14. The Bob Marley Museum

The Marley family converted his old house in Kingston, Jamaica, into the Bob Marley Museum. Fans and tourists can visit and learn about his life, music, and the cultural impact he made. Would you visit?

15. Bob’s Legacy

Island Records | Wikimedia Commons

To this day Bob is still a hugely respected musician and much-loved icon. He is still selling records, and his family are building on his legacy. There have been documentaries released about him, and a hit film in 2024! Clearly Bob Marley isn’t going anywhere soon!