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Bob Marley: The Untold Story

What was it about Bob Marley that made him so popular in a world dominated by rock'n'roll?How is that he has not only remained the single most successful reggae artist ever, but has also become a shining beacon of radicalism and peace to generation after generation of fans across the globe? On May 11, 1981, a little after 11.30 in the morning, Bob Marley died. The man who introduced reggae to a worldwide audience, in his own lifetime he had already become a hero figure in the classic mythological sense. From immensely humble beginnings and with talent and religious belief his only weapons, the Jamaican recording artist applied himself with unstinting perseverance to spreading his prophetic musical message.And he had achieved it: only a year earlier, Bob Marley and The Wailers' tour of Europe had seen them perform to the largest audiences a musical act had up to that point experienced. Record sales of Marley's albums before his death were spectacular; in the years since his death they have become phenomenal, as each new generation discovers afresh the remarkable power of his music.Chris Salewicz, who had a sequence of adventures with Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1979, offers us a comprehensive and detailed account of Bob Marley's life and the world in which he grew up and came to dominate. Never-before-heard interviews with dozens of people who knew Marley are woven through a narrative that brings to life not only the Rastafari religion and the musical scene in Jamaica, but also the spirit of the man himself.
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About the Author

Chris Salewicz is an acclaimed music journalist and writer. He was at NME in the late 1970's and early '80's and has written copiously for the Sunday Times, The Face and Q magazine. His books include the classic biography of Joe Strummer and the lavishly applauded biography of Jamaica titled `Rude Boy'.


The usual tropes of pop stardom attain a mythic resonance in this lively biography of the Jamaican reggae demigod. Journalist Salewicz (Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer) draws an earnest portrait of Marley: his Rastafarian creed-he worshipped the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie-was unusually flamboyant; his marijuana use was probably heavier than other pop stars' and, per the Rasta sacrament of spliff-fueled Bible reading, certainly more sanctimonious; his feuds with managers, escalating to flourished pistols and beatings, were more operatic. His politics were weighty-his embroilment in Jamaican party rivalries in the 1970s prompted an assassination attempt-as was his canonization as an icon of black empowerment and countercultural protest. Salewicz's profile is full of piquant yet troubling details-Marley was apparently present at the lynching of his would-be assassins-and insights into the rough Jamaican surroundings that gave Marley's music its edgy desperation and millennial fervor. He is agnostic about whether Marley was the reincarnation of Christ-against Marley's uncanny prophecies were his adulteries and occasional wife beating-but gushes faithfully about the music, which he calls "tantalizingly world-shaking in its scintillating essence." Salewicz's profile is as gritty, entertaining, and starry-eyed as Marley himself. Photos. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

'Salewicz invades and illuminates Marley's privacy more effectively than previous biographers' - The Sunday Times 'Essential biography that also traces the evolution of rebel music. It's the author's owm conjuring of events - that make this book so valuable' - Mojo 'Where the veteran music journalist Chris Salewicz provides new insights is in his portrait of the musician's complex and troubled personality. Drawing on extensive interviews with those closest to Marley, he reveals a character afflicted by insecurity and instability' - Times Literary Supplement 'The definitive account of the man and the myth' - The Independent

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