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Bob Marley Album Stories

Bob Marley: The Stories Behind The Albums...

In 1962, Robert Nesta Marley released his debut single, ‘Judge Not’, on Beverley’s Records in Jamaica, under the name Robert Marley & Beverley’s All-Stars. An upbeat ska number with a boyish vocal, few could have predicted the massive impact that Robert would come to have – not only on ska and reggae in his homeland but on the entire world. Today, Bob Marley is not only considered to be one of the most influential reggae artists of all time, but also an international superstar and symbol of Jamaican cultural identity.

Throughout the 60s, Bob Marley and his backing band The Wailers (featuring prominent members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer) learned their trade in Jamaican recording studios, working with producers such as Leslie Kong, Coxsone Dodd and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Their big breakthrough came in 1972 when the band were on a UK tour supporting soul singer Johnny Nash. They met Island Records head Chris Blackwell in London, and he immediately offered the group a record deal. The result was the Catch A Fire album, widely regarded as Bob Marley’s first international success.

After their follow-up, Burnin’, the original Wailers split, but Marley continued using the name Bob Marley & The Wailers, despite the absence of Wailer and Tosh. Hit albums Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration quickly followed before a politically motivated attempt on his life saw Marley leave Jamaica for several years. During these years and whilst living in the UK, he recorded the albums Exodus and Kaya which gave him hits such as ‘One Love’, ‘Jamming’ and ‘Is This Love’, confirming him as a global success and one of Jamaica’s national heroes.

Bob Marley returned to Jamaica in 1978, where he recorded his final two studio albums, Survival and Uprising, before his death, on 11 May 1981, at the age of 36. He received a state funeral in Kingston ten days later, when he was buried in a chapel with his guitar. Edward Seaga, the Jamaican Prime Minister at the time, was quoted as saying at Marley’s funeral:

“His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”

Every week, renowned and respected music writer David Sinclair will review 11 Bob Marley albums and reveal the fascinating stories behind them. A great historical document, each review will contain audio streams of the album (Spotify and Deezer), quotes from the people that were there, insights, live videos and soundbites.



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Fans who pre-order the Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues Super Deluxe edition will receive a digital download of the entire package as well as an exclusive Stephen Marley remix of the song ‘Exodus’ with a reimagined music bed and different lead vocalists on June 2nd in advance of the July 14th physical release date. Additional Stephen Marley remixes will be available exclusively in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

This June marks the 40th anniversary of Exodus–named the “Best Album of the 20th Century” by Time magazine in 1999. As part of the celebration, Ziggy Marley has revisited the original session recordings, uncovering unused and never-before-heard vocals and instrumentation, transforming these various elements into brand-new session takes.

This collector’s edition Super Deluxe, four-LP, two-7” single vinyl version includes the original LP, Ziggy Marley’s restatement Exodus 40 – The Movement Continues, an Exodus Live set recorded at London’s Rainbow Theatre the week of the album’s release on June 3, 1977, Punky Reggae Party LP which includes a previously unreleased extended mix of “Keep On Moving”, and a pair of vinyl 7” singles, including “Waiting in Vain” b/w “Roots” and “Smile Jamaica (Part One)” b/w “Smile Jamaica (Part Two).”