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The Influence of Bob Marley

Better known as Bob, Robert Nesta Marley was born to Captain Norval Marley and Cedella Booker on February 6, 1945 in Jamaica. Bob Marley is described as one of the most influential musician in the Reggae history. During his time, he was an heroic figure and he still remains the same in the hearts of many people. This is due ti the fact that his music is still popular and widely recognized by all music lovers as its message is always inspiring. His main themes are based on inspiring happiness, providing views on freedom, love and racism. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the legacy of Bob Marley in reference to his influence in music and the Rastafarian movement internationally. The recognition received by Bob Marley after his death and as well during his life is comprehensively analyzed. In this context, Bob Marley helped the Rastafarian movement and reggae music to become popular worldwide.

The Rastafarian Movement: both political and religious was founded in Jamaica in the early 1930 drawn its cultures, traditions and beliefs from various local and international sources such as Marcus Garvey, the African heritage, the Old Testament and other international cultures. in 1966, Bob Marley was introduced to the movement by a spiritual leaders, Mortimer Planno, and from their Bob started to incorporate his faith and teaching from the Rastafarian movement with his music (Marley and McCann, 1993). As result of this, Bob released songs such as One World and One love which were entirely influenced by the Rastafarian beliefs as he embraced the music signature of Rasta widely recognized as reggae. In this context, the mentioning and use of Rastafarian ideologies and adopting the signature of Rasta man in his music, Bob Marley impacted the influenced and popularized the Rastafarian movement throughout the world as most people believes in his music.

The Rastafarian movement influenced most of Bob Marley life aspects such as a result of beliefs on the movement, he started to embrace the teachings of the movement such as the way of appearance, the weed which he believed was the source of his wisdom, and as well all aspects of which were required to live like a Rasta. His faith on the movement was elevated and so were his supporters. His supporters largely embraced the Rasta men way of living such as long beards and dreadlocks. As indicated by Cobb (2017), many reggae supporters imitated Bob Marley lifestyle which was guided by the Rastafari culture and hence this caused the appreciation and emulation of the movement’s culture and beliefs across the world.

In regards to Bob Marley influence on reggae music, his legacy stands outs in spreading reggae to almost every country globally. Together with the Wailers; the world’s premier group, they took the international stage with storm in which they performed numerous concert in several countries such as Sydney, United States and Melbourne through which they spread the reggae music. As argued by Marvin (2017), the wailers took reggae in places where it was never thought it will be.” Based on these concerts, a reggae manic sensation was created and hence creating a founding step towards reggae recognition.

In another scenario, Lorenz ascertains in reference to Bob Marley, the Japanese youth are using Rastafari and reggae as a means of entertainment. Additionally, he argues on how Japanese are incorporating the Rastafari culture and music into their own music. Taking this to account, it is evident that many cultures are idolizing the work of Bob Marley and actively imitating the Rastafari culture. Specifically, the Exodus album by Bob Marley and The wailers highly influend the world and gained a lot of attention. According to Dave (2017), the “Exodus Album” was a huge hit and hence topping charts in different countries.” The analysis of how the album influenced reggae supporters around the world. This album is largely subjected to to the relationship between reggae and Rastafari movement.

Bob Marley was ranked 11th in the chart of “100 Greatest Artists of All the Time” by Rolling Stone. This indicates that the iconic figure has had a significant influence in this generation. Most of his music spoke of injustice, revolution, change, equality as well as other factors which were affecting many nations. The breakdown of his lyrics resulted to the spread of the reggae music in different states. His Rastafari faith insipired many people to stand for change and recognize reggae is part of life’s insipiration.

Reggae music was not popular in the U.S as it had been in other parts of the world until bob Marley emerged in the reggae scene. With no doubt, Bob Marley is the king of reggae music and largely associated with the Rastafarian movement which took reggae to far much greater levels. His lyrics were full of wisdom and probably inspired a lot of listeners who were faced with hard circumstances. Despite any problem, there was a Marley song that related somehow. Despite growing up in the ghetto and being exposed to warfare as a black child and also going through hunger and poverty struggles, he preached peace and message of hope for the hopeless (Adebayo, 2003). After his success, he aimed at uplifting the youths from the ghetto side by incorporating the, his reggae band; the wailing wailers. Eventually, the band members assumed successful careers as solo artists in reggae music although none of them was great and a star in reggae music like Bob Marley.

Marley adopted the reggae style after marriage and aliasing with the Rastafarian movement. He used his reggae music to send social, political and spiritual messages to his listeners. He also collaborated with other reggae musicians to spread the, message of love. The wailers, together with bob Marley Bob Marley were driving reggae into a mainstream. In addition, bob had a strong political influence in Jamaica where his solid stance in Rastafarian had found a large following mostly amongst the ghetto youth. In order to thank the Jamaicans for their support, he decided to hold a free entry concert at Kingston’s national heroes’ park (Marley et al. 2017). His main aim was to emphasize on the importance of peace in the ghettos where warring factors had heated up, leading to widespread murder and turmoil. In other words, bob Marley was a peace activists who sought to peace the message of peace to the slum cities through his reggae music.

During 1978, the wailer band generated a lot of profits and mass attention due to the success of their album Kaya. The album, was rated number four in the United Kingdom after its release. Set in a different mood and tonality, Marley paid tribute to the ganja power and incorporated a collection of love songs hence attracting a lot of reggae followers internationally. In regard to this, he travelled around due to the publicity of his music. For instance, he was invited to play the one love long concert for the prime minister, he was welcomed in the United Nations to receive the organization’s peace medal. Moreover, in the same year, he travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia; which includes the countries with a large reggae following and which he termed as the spiritual home of Rasta.

Currently, most countries have idolized Bob Marley so much, for instance, in Nigeria, he is termed a freedom fighter and a prophet send to liberate the blacks from poverty and oppression through his musical lyrics (Gilmore and Mikal, 2005). Moreover, in Zimbabwe, his music is played during hard times. His music was also played during the Iraq-US war as it greatly fosters and sends the message of peace an liberation to the listeners.

Bob Marley work stretched across almost all continents for two decades. Marley and his band were invited in different continents and countries to play his Rastafarian music. Due to the wide reggae influence, bob and his band were invited in Zimbabwe to play in the country’s independence ceremony. Eventually, the wailers released the uprising album, forcing the band to embark on major European tours and breaking records of festival over the continent. The program included a large population of about 100, 000 in Milan, making it the largest reggae show in band’s history.

In conclusion, despite his death, Bob Marley work still remains universal and timeless and his legend still continues. Bob Marley was successful internationally with his music additionally his music has Rastafari influences in both religious and political forms. This supported by huge fan base which Bob Marley had and still has around the globe. His widespread influence is felt everywhere. A lot of bands have risen to play coves and pay tributes to the legendary. Additionally, Marley majorly impacted the society and his music still influences people in today’s societies. This is because he played meaningful songs that positively affected the society. His songs spoke of the truth and mostly inspired people to stand up for what right and they were believed In. he viewed life as a big given opportunity which could not be wasted. Due to bob Marley music, the reggae culture has become popular as it is today, with a lot of people preferring reggae music from other music genres. Marley placed the reggae music to a word nobody thought it would reach. Not only did Marley conquer Jamaica with his talent, he also conquered almost half of the world. He is widely perceived as a great leader, a hero, and most of all a reggae legend all across the world.


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Gilmore, Mikal. (2005, March). The Life and Times of Bob Marley: How He Changed the World. Rolling Stone, 68-74, 76, 78.

Kenner, Rob. (2011, February). The Business of Bob. Billboard – The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment; New York, N.Y. 15-17. Retrieved from

King, Stephen; Jensen, Richard J (1995). Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”: The rhetoric of reggae and Rastafari. Journal of Popular Culture; Oxford, 29(3), 17–20. Retrieved

Lorenz, Aaron R S (2014). Book Review: Babylon East: Performing Dancehall, Roots Reggae, and Rastafari in Japan. Popular Music; Cambridge, 33(2), 357-358. Retrieved from

Maganga, S. (2016). The Conversation. Author, Stewart Maganga Doctoral Candidate, Nelson Mandela University.

Marley, B., & McCann, I. (1993). Bob Marley: in his own words. Omnibus Press.

Marley, B., Aston” Family Man” Barrett, Barrett, C., Michael” Ibo” Cooper, Stephen” Cat” Coore, Richard” Richie” Daley, … & Marley, R. (2017). Exodus. Island Records.

Ojo, Adebayo. (2003). The Marley Moment. The Beat; Los Angeles, Calif. 34-35. Retrieved from

Thompson, Dave. (2017, July). Exodus 40. Goldmine; Iola. 18-21. Retrieved from



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