Bob Marley forced people to take Reggae seriously. Prior to Bob breaking through into the Rock market reggae had been a chart singles market with a bit of an ethnic backwater. The Mods had grooved to it but it was not considered in the same League as psychedelia of mainstream Rock. After Marley there was a lot of attention given to it.
Bob Marley looked the part with his long dreadlocks and great dances. He sounded the part too. It was easy to identify with the rebelliousness and antiestablishment stance. Marley was definitely an outsider.
The looks were one thing but didn’t get you anywhere without the music. That where Chris Blackwell came in. He saw the potential in the Wailers and signed them to Island records. He was after breaking the reggae band into mainstream Rock and that’s what he set about doing with his production. He introduced rock elements into the basic reggae format. It made it crisper with a good Rock guitar lead that was more accessible to white ears.
Bob’s greatest ability was his songwriting. He captured the feelings and sentiments perfectly and put them to great melodies. It made them commercially popular as well as retaining their credibility. There was no compromise in the way he did it. It was just brilliant music that appealed to people right across the spectrum. That’s what made him a superstar.
The major themes that Bob delved into were the Rastafarian religion which he was an adherent of, social injustice which he had experienced firsthand, racial and gang violence which he also experienced, discrimination because of the use of marijuana and love. Bob loved women.
The political, racial and social messages resonated with black communities all over the world and also engaged sympathetic whites. Bob was a voice for freedom and justice. His songs were full of optimism for a new world order with the scourge of racism, where all people were respected and treated fairly.
We can all echo that.
Bob never saw himself as a mere songwriter or singer; he was an activist. Everything he did was political. He was an optimistic idealist just like me. He believed that you could make things better and that was the purpose of everything you did. He wanted the emancipation of the black races but more importantly he wanted a new world harmony.
I hear that reflected in the best of his songs. My particular favourite is ‘War’ which he based on the speech of King Haile Selassie’s address to the United Nations in which he said that there would always be conflict and war until such time as there was an end to inequality and racism.
That’s what I believe. Bob thought that it was in the power of the nations to solve poverty, destitution, disease, war and racism. So do I.
When you look at the wealth of brilliant songs he produced it is tragic the way his life ended. He got a football injury to his toe that went cancerous. He refused to allow the foot to be amputated. It spread and he died. If he had had the foot removed he would probably still be with us today.
We desperately need men and women of the stature of Bob Marley; men and women who have integrity and are prepared to stand up in the face of the political/billionaire global juggernaut that is nothing more than globalised vandalism; people who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions.
Get up Stand up!! Stand up for your rights!!
Fight for a world of freedom, tolerance, equality and justice!
Fight for the end of exploitation, deliberate maintenance of a system where most of the world is kept destitute so that they can be utilised to make the rich richer.
Fight to halt the destruction of our rainforests, the overfishing, the decimation of our wild-life for the sake of a quick buck.
That’s what Bob Marley stood for! That’s the legacy he left us! You have to stand up for your rights or you get squashed.
9 thoughts on “Bob Marley – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.”
Reblogged this on Opher's World and commented:
Bob was one of the greatest – such a sad loss.
I’m not that into reggae but I love Bob Marley!
Some reggae is great – some is just alright.
Yeah I guess so!
Listen to Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Amen to all the above.
Bob produced some great albums – my favourite being Live at the Lyceum – and he was another who wanted to change the world!
One of my favourites too. I like idealists.
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