Posts Tagged bob marley

Bob Marley family launches “first world cannabis brand” #MarleyNatural

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The family of the late Jamaican reggae artist, Bob Marley has launched what they describe as the world’s first global cannabis brand.

It will be called Marley Natural and be used to sell cannabis-infused lotions, creams and various accessories.

The new brand is being developed with Privateer Holdings based in Washington state, stressing the life and legacy of Jamaica’s greatest cultural export.

It is intended to be sold in the US and possibly worldwide from next year.

Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley, said her father would welcome the move.

“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” she said.

Privateer’s chief executive Brendan Kennedy said a Marley was “someone who, in many ways, helped start the movement to end cannabis prohibition 50 years ago.

“It was just a natural fit between Bob Marley and this product. You know if you were to look for the most famous human being who ever walked the face of the earth related to cannabis, it would be Bob Marley.”

Bob Marley died of cancer in May 1981. He embraced cannabis as a key part of his Rastafarian faith and supported its legalisation.

Cannabis use for recreational purposes is legal in the US states of Colorado and Washington.

Several other states may follow suit and others are permitting the sale of marijuana for prescribed medical purposes.


Bob Marley Coming to Arlington

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Bob Marley’s music continues to unite diverse peoples. At 7 p.m. Dec. 6, Arlington Town Hall, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, will rock with Marley’s music as presented by the multi-generational Family Folk Chorale, Pihcintu, a multi-national children’s chorus and Glen DaCosta, of Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Family Folk Chorale Artistic Director Chris Eastburn notes, “Bob Marley’s melodies summon spontaneous singing from the heart. His grooves make you want to dance from your soul and his lyrics calling for the unity of the human family ring as true today as when they were written. Bring your parents and children to sing and dance along with the Family Folk Chorale and Pihcintu in this intergenerational and multicultural celebration of Bob Marley’s music.”

Saxophonist Glen DaCosta toured all over the world with Bob Marley and the Wailers. He can be heard on the albums “Kaya,” “Exodus” and “Confrontation” and he was was with Marley on the Survival Tour, one of Marley’s last before his death in 1981. After Marley’s death, DaCosta continued with the Wailers and accompanied many bands, including Gladys Knight, Lou Ralls, Aretha Franklin, UB 40 and Ray Goodman. He is currently writing a book about his years with Bob Marley. You can learn more about him at

The Family Folk Chorale was founded in 1999 with the belief that everyone can sing and that people of all ages singing together is powerful music. The multi-generational group of 60 singers ranges in age from 3-74. Membership includes whole families as well as individuals. Sometimes there are three generations of the same family singing together! The group is backed by a band, featuring Glen DaCosta on saxophone, Gary Backstrom on electric guitar, Paul Wolstencroft on keyboards, Leo Sharimataro on drums and Matt Laurence on electric bass.

Pihcintu, a Passamaquoddy word meaning “when she sings her voice carries far,” is based in Portland, Maine. It is composed of immigrant girls from 15 different countries, many of whom had to flee from war-torn villages and bloodshed. The chorus was established by Con Fullum, an award-winning producer, musician and songwriter, as a way for these girls to connect with one another and build a supportive community. Through the healing power of music, these vulnerable young women have formed a powerful and permanent bond. Pihcintu was invited to appear on NBC’s Today Show, and an excerpt from that performance can be viewed at

The combined choruses will sing Bob Marley reggae favorites and classics, including “One Love/People Get Ready,” “No Woman No Cry,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Lively Up Yourself” and more.

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How Bob Marley’s Son Learned From Failure And Started A Multi-Million Dollar Coffee Company

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Marley Coffee is still a relatively small company, having churned out $6 million in revenue in 2013. But founder Rohan Marley, one of Bob Marley’s children, has big plans for his Jamaican-born coffee business.

In 1999, Rohan Marley was 27. He had played linebacker for the University of Miamibefore moving on to the Canadian Football League. Now he found himself in New York City, wanting to do more with his life–to make a name for himself as a Marley.

In a serendipitous twist, a friend contacted Marley about an opportunity to purchase a property in Jamaica. Though he’d only lived in Jamaica as a child before moving to the U.S. at age 12, Marley had recently received $200,000 in royalties from his father’s music. So he made a trip to Jamaica to look at the property and couldn’t believe what he found.

“The first thing I saw was all the fruits–apple, starfruit, pineapple–tons of fruit growing wildly, and I was seeing all the food going to waste,” he recalls in his thick Jamaican accent. “While I’m walking, I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this land is really fertile.’ When I approached the river, I couldn’t believe my eyes that this property was in Jamaica. Here’s this beautiful piece of property for sale–I thought it was a conspiracy.”

On impulse, Marley forked over his $200,000 and bought the 52-acre property. As he was walking off the land, he noticed an entire community of people standing there, trying to figure out what he was up to. “The only thing I could think to say was, ‘What’s the community known for?’ They said coffee, and by the time they knew my name, I was saying, ‘Well alright, the community is known for coffee, so let’s get down to specifics,'” he says. “My next question: ‘Do you know anything about coffee? They said, ‘Yes, Mr. Marley, we’ve been farming all our lives.'”

It didn’t take long for him to decide that he wanted to start a coffee business–one that was emphatically organic. “I’m a Rasta man, and I can’t have a piece of land that isn’t something I want to eat from,” he explains.

It was a long haul from Marley’s initial coffee-growing idea to creating a functional business. Marley spent eight years applying for an export license, organic certification, and a coffee-growers license. The learning curve was steep.

“I gave my coffee to a roaster in Jamaica–I gave him 1,000 pounds–and he never returned the bag. He said it was all bad coffee,” Marley remembers. “I decided this wasn’t working for me. I told the farmers, ‘Take all the raw materials, sell it, do what you need to do to keep the farm going.'”

Between 2004 and 2006, Marley helped his sister start a clothing company, which eventually ran out of money and shut down. Marley once again needed to reevaluate his life. He packed two duffel bags and headed to Ethiopia.

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Leadership Through Hope: Lessons From Reggae Music

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Bad is stronger than good, that’s an established fact. Negative events—losing money, being abandoned by friends, receiving criticism—have a stronger impact on us than the equivalent positive events—winning money, making friends, or receiving praise. We remember their sting for years. Salient incidents of conflict shape our identities, our relationships, and our memories more so than incidents of harmony.

That’s probably why negativity sells so many records. Heavy metal, gansta rap, shock rock, industrial, punk—those are all genres that succeeded by harnessing negativity.

One thing we don’t hear a lot of in contemporary music is hope. Yet this kinder and gentler concept can be powerful in its own way. Think of the power of Bob Marley’s ubiquitous image, music, and lyrics so many years after his death. As Roger Steffens wrote in an essay on Bob Marley, his imagery, gracing numerous t-shirts, flags, and other manifestations, is “well nigh a new universal language, the symbol… of freedom throughout the world.”

Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Bob Marley and the Wailers  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason Bob Marley lives so strongly in the public imagination is because his music had a meaningful positive message . It wasn’t just positive in a let’s-have-a-good-time kind of way, though there was some of that. Marley’s music was transformative, aspiring to make the world a better place (and arguably, made real progress on that front).

Leaders who are able to truly have a long-lasting influence are those who give us hope. In a chapter in the recent book How To Be A Positive Leader, professor Oana Branzei of the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University defines hope as the belief that people and situations can and will change for the better. Political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela or religious leaders like Mother Theresa and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had their powerful impact because they convinced others that a better future was possible and doable.

Both positivity and negativity can help people get through tough times. The difference is that positivity can lead the way toward positive action for a better future. In periods of great social upheaval such as United States in the 1960s, positive music provided a motivating soundtrack.

Recently, a resurgence of positive reggae music has been offering messages of hope to a growing audience. Bands such as Rebelution, SOJA, Tribal Seeds, The Expendables and Iration have brought reggae and its positivity into the twenty-first century. For these bands, reggae music enhances the effectiveness of what they have to say. As Hazrat Inayat Khan wrote in The Mysticism of Sound and Music, “Music raises the soul of man even higher than the so-called external form of religion…That is why in ancient times the greatest prophets were great musicians.”

“If I would just say my lyrics in a speech without the music, I don’t know if it would really get to people,” told me Eric Rachmany, front man and songwriter for the reggae band Rebelution. “But because I’m doing it through music, it has a way to get to the soul in a way that can’t necessarily be done just through speaking.” The fans seem to be getting the message. The band’s fourth album,Count Me In, recently entered the Billboard charts at number 14, selling 17,201 copies in its first week.

“People want to root for positive music,” said Rachmany. “They hear an uplifting song and they want to spread it to their friends and their family. I think people are really dying for this positive movement.” Rachmany himself was inspired by another reggae artist, Don Carlos. “I felt loving energy when I saw him play and I want to do the same thing.”

If they use hopeful music, they might be able to do all three more effectively. Given all the negativity out in the world, they will need all the help they can get.

Rebelution playing live. Photo Credit:  Jason Siegel

Rebelution playing live. Photo Credit: Jason Siegel

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Bob Marley Became The Reggae King Through Hard Work

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Marley grew up in Jamaica, took his music to America, hit it big with "One Love" and other songs  and was a multimillionaire when he died at just 36....Marley grew up in Jamaica, took his music to America, hit it big with “One Love” and other songs and was a multimillionaire when he died at just 36…

Bob Marley topped the hit parade in his home country.

But at the glitzy Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Del., he was a janitor.

He was sick of being poor. A front man for his band, the Wailers, he’d gulped water when he was little to stave off gnawing hunger.

Music was supposed to be his ticket out of the slums.

It wasn’t. The group’s weekly pay from Kingston’s Studio One records was the equivalent of just $25 today.

“They were called the Jamaican Beatles,” Roger Steffens, who was a Marley friend and onetime co-host of a reggae radio show in Los Angeles, told IBD. “At one point, they had five of the top 10 records at once in Jamaica.”

It was painful. So Marley (1945-81) moved in with his mom in the States and got grunt jobs.

Marley’s Keys

  • Sold millions of records while bringing Jamaican music to the world.
  • Overcame: Poverty.
  • Lesson: Surge, even when the going’s tough.
  • “My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.”

He struck gold that winter, though, figuring out how much he was willing to do for his music. After each shift, he did nothing but sit in his basement, practicing riffs on his guitar and writing songs.

Lesson: Get hungry for your true calling.

Rich With Melodies

Marley went on to be a multimillionaire.

His biggest hits: “One Love” — named song of the millennium by the BBC — “Stir It Up,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “Get Up, Stand Up” and “Jamming.”

When he died at just 36, Marley was worth an estimated $30 million, or $75 million today.

The money keeps rolling in.

His albums have sold more than 75 million. Last year the Marley name earned $17 million.

Marley’s greatest hits album, “Legend,” has sold more than 250,000 copies a year since it was released in 1984. It’s the second-longest charting album in the history of the Billboard charts.

“It’s an annuity for his children, 30 years later,” said Steffens.

Marley was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica. His dad, Norval, was a British land surveyor who left Bob’s mom, Cedella, soon after birth.

From the start, Robbie had a sweet singing voice. As he grew, it gained a bit of an edge.

At age 5, Bob was brought to Kingston, the country’s capital, and moved in with relatives.

“Bob was on his own,” said Mike Watson, founder of Midnight Raver, a website that promotes reggae music. “There was nobody to look after him.”

“That,” said Steffens, “can turn you really bad really fast or do what it did to Bob.”

Marley's 12-string acoustic guitar is on display as part of the Hard Rock Cafe's "Gone Too Soon" tribute. AP   Marley’s 12-string acoustic guitar is on display as part of the Hard Rock Cafe’s “Gone Too Soon” tribute. AP  View Enlarged Image

He made music out of it all.

His new neighborhood, Trench Town, was called the Jamaican Motown. Marley bathed in a rich gumbo of Caribbean beats. By radio, he caught Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. Soon Bob begged to be let into a small recording studio. In 1962, the 16-year-old cut his first record, “Judge Not.”

Not indeed; the song got almost zero airplay.

Undeterred, Marley thought he’d try a band. So he created the Wailing Wailers with buddies Neville Livingston — known as Bunny — and Peter Tosh in 1963.

Their sound was part doo-wop, part Caribbean, all catchy.

“Music had been a hobby for Bunny, but Bob took it seriously,” wrote Christopher John Farley in “Before the Legend.” “He saw it as a career, a way out.”

To help strengthen their melodic punch, Marley asked veteran singer Joe Higgs to coach the band. The guru’s pitch to get perfect: 10,000 hours of practice.

That meant marathon rehearsals. “More than two or three hours,” Watson said. “Sometimes, it could have been part of a day, outside, under a tree, very hot. Constant repetition. Grueling repetition.”

The Wailers recorded “Simmer Down,” scoring their first big local hit in 1964.

Over the next few months, Marley and the gang refined and slowed their style into what’s now known as reggae. Their moniker became the Wailers. “His music stood for something,” Steffens said. “It was message music.”

A string of Studio One records rocked the dance halls.

Downside: The pay was peanuts.

By 1965, the hit man of Jamaica was homeless, sleeping on the floor of the studio storage room.

What finally put Marley on a cash quest: love.

He married Rita Anderson, a vibrant singer who would become a key member of the band, in 1966. That same week, Marley left to hunt for jobs in Delaware.

“He knew he had the talent, he knew he had the drive,” said Watson. “But he had to go make money.”

Less than a year later, Marley was back on the Caribbean island and on a mission. “They used to call him the Skipper,” Watson said. “He was like an immovable rock. He was not going to budge on something he felt was right.”

To gain more direct access to the market, Marley launched a record company called Tuff Gong.

Tough was right. Everyone hustled to get the songs out. Right up there was Rita, hitting the streets of Kingston on her bicycle to distribute records feverishly.

Marley’s luck finally turned when record producer Chris Blackwell offered his band a deal with Island Records, the future U2 label.

Marketed as a rock phenomenon, Bob Marley and the Wailers released their first international album, “Catch a Fire,” in 1973.

From the start, Blackwell could tell Marley had star potential.

“When it was finished and coming out, I was really excited,” Blackwell said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last year. “I felt it would be a really important album. I thought very early that it would sell a million copies.”

To prime the pump, Blackwell sent the band on a worldwide tour.

Livingston and Tosh hated road life. They quit the band.

Marley kept on grooving, adding the I Threes, a dynamic trio of backup singers that included Rita.

The new group was all about live performances. No spangles for the king of reggae, though. He didn’t need them. Swaying in street clothes in his characteristic long locks, he mesmerized.

Band members could expect to be prepared for tunes to last anywhere from three to 20 minutes.

Marley had a vision for each show. No two were the same.

“He knew how to play all of the instruments,” Steffens said.

Rohan Marley, CEO of Marley Coffee, recalls his dad didn’t have to raise his voice to make folks pay attention. “All he had to say was, ‘Hey boy, come here, sit down,’ and I would start crying,” he told IBD.

By 1976, he was playing huge shows. Two nights before the much-buzzed-about Smile Jamaica concert in Kingston, thugs unleashed a spray of bullets on Marley while he was rehearsing. His arm was hit. Rita was rushed to the hospital with a gash in her skull.

The Comeback

Both were shaken but survived. There was no way Marley could play guitar with his arm in a sling. But he could still peal out the lyrics.

Marley’s desire was to promote peace in his country. He knew 80,000 people were coming to receive the message. “He considered for two days what he should do,” said Watson. “What he did was he went out there and went onstage. He gave the greatest performance I’ve ever seen.”

The band was committed to the show. Rita, released briefly from the hospital, performed with her head bandaged. She had surgery the next day. The crowd went wild, and the venues got bigger.

In 1980, a throng of 100,000 came to see Marley play in Milan, Italy. The U.S. leg was next. But Marley couldn’t complete that tour.

In September, the superstar was told cancer had invaded his body. He died eight months later in a Miami hospital.

He left behind the best part of himself: songs to inspire. “Hundreds of years into the future,” wrote Steffens, “Marley’s melodies will be as prevalent as those of any songwriter who has ever lived.”

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Featured Artist – Jimmy and the Parrots

Posted in Featured Artist of the Week, Island Enthusiasts, Meeting of the Minds, Pirates, Trop Rock Artists, Trop Rock Happenings, Trop Rock Radio | Comments Off on Featured Artist – Jimmy and the Parrots


Grab your beach chair, your suntan oil, and your favorite drink, and get ready for a trip to the islands! From the West Indies and Jamaica to cities all over the US, Jimmy and the Parrots have been playing to delighted crowds for over 10 years. The band has performed at the annual Meeting of the Minds Parrot Head conventions in Key West, Florida, as well as well-known Key West venues such as Schooner Wharf, Sloppy Joes, The Rum Barrel, and Rick’s Cafe. Additionally, the band has rocked the original Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Café stage on Duval Street several times to rave reviews.

Internationally, the band has traveled to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies, Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. They’ve been part of two Yea Mon cruises; the first found them performing on board as well as during our port stop in Nassau, Bahamas, at Senor Frogs. Our next cruise will have them performing during our port stop in Key West; there will will take the stage at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon.

The title track from their debut CD, “Yea Mon,” was included in a beach music compilation CD entitled, “Thongs in the Key of Life, Vol. II.” In October 2004, they released their CD of all-original tunes, “Better Than New,” to rave reviews. In March 2006, they released “Island Jam,” a 3-CD set, which has already sold over 40,000 copies nationwide. That was followed up with another 3-CD set, “Sun Jams, and most recently, the band released another CD of original tunes, “Back to the Bayou.”

One of the most requested Jimmy Buffett cover bands in the country, Jimmy and the Parrots perform not only all the great Buffett songs you love, they also play new and classic rock ‘n roll, as well as outstanding original songs written by lead singer/guitarist Jimmy Maraventano. Their cover songs include favorites by the Beach Boys, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Jerry Jeff Walker, Harry Belafonte, and Bob Marley, among many others. The band truly appeals to all ages and all musical tastes.

Jimmy and the Parrots wrote a beautiful anthem to commemorate the SS United States . The Conservancy would like to personally thank Jimmy Maraventano and his band of Parrots: Lance Hyland Stark, Jimmy Maraventano, Jr., and Hal B. Selzer.

Additionally a personal thank you to Manager Mary Beth Rotella for providing the lyrics which follow.

Words and Music by Jimmy Maraventano
Copyright 2010

She floats as only she can
Proud and majestic is she
Colors of grandeur none can compare
Could you picture her on the high sea

Kings and queens were the guests of her time
Persons of fortune and fame
Can you recall the time it was
When the whole word would utter her name

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

Her contours split the horizon
Defying the endless tides
Though faded and rusting you’ll see right through
Her beauty her grace and her prime

But now broken, alone, no place to call home
She sits and wait patiently
To ride the waves, fly her flags
Fulfill her destiny

She’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

Flagship of our nation
The strongest and fastest to date
We cannot stand by we will not accept
That this is to be her fate

For fifty odd years she continues to fight
The ravages of the sea
Time will win out as it always does
Fade into history

Now is the time is to hear her call
Let’s end these years of neglect
A second chance to serve again
She deserves at least that much respect

For she’s a symbol of America
Built with American hands
She cuts through the seas with amazing ease
She stills holds the Blue Riband

A symbol of America
Her namesake the United States
Let’s do this for our country
Before it is too late.

A symbol of America.

“Honest to God, I loved Jimmy & the Parrots more than anybody I saw all weekend. And as you know, everybody else was great too! The energy on stage, the sound, the songs, everything, loved it! Can’t wait to see them again sometime in the future.”

Dennis “DK” King
Island Time Radio Show, WBWC 88.3 FM
Berea, OH

“Our Beach Party was a success, and we’d like to personally extend our thanks to you and the members of Jimmy and the Parrots for providing us with the music to guide our night along. We estimate more than 550 people attended this year’s inaugural event. Your upbeat attitude and harmony kept the event running smoothly. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of you and congratulate you on a job well done!”

Lisa O’Neill
Ocean County Parks and Recreation Department
Toms River, NJ

“Jimmy and The Parrots were fabulous. Guests of all ages were dancing in place, moving and grooving as they walked around the show. I even noticed that the catering staff was choreographing their food and drink service to the beat.

One senior executive at PNC commented to me that she thought it was the best Flower Show Dinner yet because of the band — she thought Jimmy and The Parrots made the party. That is quite a compliment considering PNC has been doing this event for 15 years.

It was a pleasure working with you all. ”

Barbara Sheehan
Sheehan Events
West Chester, PA

Purchase their Music Here

Quick Note from WFR – On Island Time in Paradise

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It is about 10:30 on Grenada and it is raining off and on. We have seen some lightening off in the distance. It is still pretty windy here and the humidity level is pretty high even for the islands. When I awoke this morning the Marley Coffee had already been made. I took a quick swim to wash away the cobwebs left by the rum toast(s) to our safe travels. We had fruit for breakfast and decided to celebrate 4/20 by listening to Bob Marley all day. I don’t know if I will be able to view the movie “Marley” that is being released today, but I will give it a try. If the weather doesn’t get any better. We are going to go ashore today to do a little shopping and try to find some old acquaintances if they are still here. For now…I hope your place in paradise is as beautiful as mine.

William Fair Roberts… On Island Time In Paradise

A Special Featured Artist of the Week – Bob Marley (in honor of the movie release 4/20)

Posted in Featured Artist of the Week, Island Enthusiasts, Reggae Roots Music, Rum, Trop Rock Artists | 1 Comment »
Written by the Marley Family

No other artist has had the galvanic global effect of Bob Marley. Singer, songwriter, and prophet, he has received innumerable honors, including The Jamaican Order of Merit, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and many more. The New York Times called him the most influential musical artist of the second half of the twentieth century. An international icon, he’s instantly recognized by his mane of flashing dreadlocks and message of conscious love and revolutionary unity, wailing over a thunderous reggae groove. Even decades after his passing, Bob Marley continues to be the standard by which not just Jamaican but all popular music artists must be measured.

Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley was born on February 6, 1945, to Cedella Booker, a local village girl, and Norville Marley, a colonial captain, in the lush countryside around St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. His formative teenage years were spent in Kingston’s vibrant and sometimes violent ghetto – Trenchtown – and it was here that Marley gained insight for his prose, recognizing the humanity, dignity and richness that can flourish despite material deprivation.

Bob Marley formed his band The Wailing Wailers in 1963 with friends Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Their music was inspired in part by American soul, gospel and R&B. The harmony trio played a significant role in the ska and rock steady music which mirrored Jamaica’s new post-colonial identity. The band would release some 30 singles over the next few years, including “Simmer Down,” which reached the top of the Jamaican music charts.

In 1966, Bob married his girlfriend Rita Anderson and left for the United States the next day to gather financing for his next album. After eight months stateside, Bob returned to Jamaica, bringing the group back together, now known simply as The Wailers. The band would end up traveling to London in 1971 and securing an unprecedented record deal with Island Records, ultimately leading to the release of their debut album, Catch A Fire.

The Wailers’ second album, Burnin, was released in 1973 and included tracks such as “Get Up, Stand Up” and “I Shot The Sheriff,” which would bring them a new level of worldwide attention when Eric Clapton covered it the following year, reaching the number-one spot on the U.S. singles chart.

Tosh and Wailers parted ways with Marley before the release of Natty Dread in 1975, which produced such hits as “No Woman, No Cry” and “So Jah Seh.” The band name then became Bob Marley & The Wailers, with harmonies sung by a female trio called I-Three, which included Bob’s wife Rita. Indeed, even as he was becoming an international star, the ghetto runnings and global trickery he sang about still haunted him. Shortly after trying to unite Kingston’s warring political gangs by performing at a free Peace Concert in 1976, Marley was shot and wounded in his own uptown Kingston home the night before the concert. Undeterred, Marley would go on to play the show as scheduled, in defiance of the would-be assassins.

The following year Marley returned to London and recorded Exodus, a stirring, militant and mystic musical landmark that would eventually be voted the most significant album of the twentieth century by TIME magazine.

Consistent and rigorous, Marley continued to challenge himself and the complacency of society in his next albums, Kaya, Survival and Uprising. Marley’s songs were an inspiration to downtrodden and impoverished people the world over. He was humbled and honored to receive an official invitation from the newly liberated government of Zimbabwe to play at their Independence Ceremony in 1980.

But though his fame and authority were reaching new heights, Marley’s health was failing. He had been secretly tussling with what was originally thought to be a football injury, but proved to be a terminal melanoma cancer. Bob Marley passed away in Miami, where he had stopped en route to his home in Jamaica, on May 11, 1981, at age 36. His last words, spoken to his son Ziggy, were “Money can’t buy life.” Marley’s remains were transported to Jamaica and he was given an official state funeral. He was buried alongside his guitar in a mausoleum near his place of birth.

For Marley, celebrity itself was merely a byproduct of a lifelong mission: To raise the consciousness of people everywhere, to make heard the voice of the downtrodden and the ghetto “sufferah,” and to powerfully project his insights to the world in a peerless canon of dancing music.

His songs have titles like incantations and Biblical invocations. Tracks like “Soul Rebel,” “Natural Mystic,” “Burnin’ and Lootin’,” “Exodus,” “Jamming,” and “One Love” are now essential elements of our human cultural vocabulary. Three years after his passing, the phenomenal Legend anthology was released, sealing his mythic status.

As he’d hoped, his children have continued his work through various artistic efforts, business ventures and philanthropic foundations. Bob Marley is still very much with us through his recordings and writings. His mystique and influence have continued to grow, and his words have become ever more necessary and relevant: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”

On Island Time in Paradise – Between Tobago and Grenada

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April 19, 2012

I am sending this via a satellite connection.  We are underway to
Grenada and had hoped that we would be anchored off the southeast end
of the island by sunset, but it is not looking likely.  The seas are a
little rough and we have been running in and out of showers and
squalls since we left Tobago.  The winds are out of the southeast at
about 15 knots so while sailing is not a challenge, it is requiring
that we keep our eyes peeled on the horizon and someone keep their
hand on the wheel. This boat has the latest in equipment and let’s
just say, none of will have to be peering through a sexton into the
heavens tonight, but we will arrive safely unless something completely
unexpected happens.

I was hoping to have my feet in the sand on the beach outside of
Garfield’s Beach Bar tonight and that probably won’t happen.  If our
ETA is correct we should be dropping anchor around 10:00 p.m.  In
between the showers we are seeing beautiful deep blue skies and seas
so clear you can imagine that you are able to peer all the way to the
bottom.  This has been a great crossing so far and as is my tradition,
we will raise a glass to our safe arrival once the anchor is resting
on the bottom of the sea.

I can hear the sounds of the music from the speakers on deck above me.
When I came below Bob Marley was singing Zion Train but now I hear
refrains of “Mississippi Sunshine” by Les Kerr so it is time for me to
finish this up and join them above.  So, for now, I am going back on
deck to listen to a little music, lend a hand and swap tales with my

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

Inner Circle – Roots Reggae – A continuation of the Roots of Trop Rock

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Inner Circle – Roots Reggae

Most people know Inner Circle via “Bad Boys,” the ubiquitous “Cops” theme song that typified Inner Circle as one of reggae’s most successful crossover groups ever. On the legendary band’s latest CD Blazzin’ Fire: Classic Cuts (DubShotta/SoundBwoy Ent), the two-time Grammy winners create one of the hardest-hitting, most lyrically serious albums to be heard in recent years. Joined by an all-star group of guests, including the likes of Buju Banton, Pitbull, Stephen and Damian Marley, Gramps from Morgan Heritage, Anthony B and more. Blazzin’ Fire: Classic Cuts re-asserts the depth of Inner Circle’s musical history. It all makes perfect sense when you realize that Inner Circle are survivors, one of a handful of pioneering reggae artists still around with the credentials and artistry to do it, with a rich history–especially their classic reggae hits with lead singer Jacob Miller–too often overshadowed by their pop success.

Inner Circle Website

To anyone who’s familiar with the band’s 20-year-plus history in the reggae field and their immense popularity around the world-there’s much more to Inner Circle than what meets the eye. Indeed, this Jamaican-bred, Grammy winning quintet is one of the world’s most respected reggae groups with a long string of successes stretching back to the mid-70′s.

Inner Circle’s special brand of pop-oriented Jamaican beats and energy -filled live performances have allowed the band to transcend the traditional reggae niche and enjoy widespread crossover appeal. A testament to this is the fact that Inner Circle plays at many of the world’s largest music festivals-headlining alongside such towering pop and rock music icons as Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Conner, The Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, and many others.

Along the way, the group has withstood two-and-a-half decades of triumph and tragedy, thanks to a shared belief in music’s power to unite and heal, and to the intensely loyal sense of family that’s kept the band vital through some turbulent times.” In 1978, while playing for the now infamous Reggae Peace Concert (a historic event ..ed in the film Heartland Reggae, which featured Bob Marley and Peter Tosh), the band achieved a major breakthrough when Chris Blackwell signed the group to Island Records. That same year, they achieved substantial commercial success with the Island album Everything Is Great, which became a Top 20 hit in the U.K and a Top 10 smash in France, and produced the popular singles “Mary, Mary” and “Music Machine.”

During this period, Inner Circle also became one of the first Jamaican groups to tour in the U.S. The band’s burgeoning fortunes were shattered in 1980, however, when vocalist Jacob Miller was killed in a car crash. Devastated by Miller’s loss, the band did not return to the studio until six years with new lead singer Calton. The regrouped combo was completed with the addition of drummer Lancelot Hall in 1985. Inner Circle achieved new levels of international success in the 1990s.

The title track of the album Bad Boys became a Number One hit in almost every European territory and sold approximately seven million copies worldwide; and “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” exploded across the world, simultaneously topping the charts in several countries in Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the European continent-where it became the most-played record ever in Germany and remained at 1 for a full three months.

After winning a 1993 Grammy for Best Reggae Album with “Bad Boys,” the band scored again with the 1994 album Reggae Dancer, which earned another Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album. That disc featured the breezy “Summer Jammin’,” featured in the soundtrack of Eddie Murphy’s film Beverly Hills Cop III. Meanwhile, the durable “Bad Boys” became a hit again when it was used as a title song for the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action film of the same name.

Unfortunately, at around this time lead singer Calton fell ill, necessitating a lengthy recovery period. In his absence, the band connected with Kingston native Kris Bentley, former lead singer of the popular Jamaican group Skool and winner of the 1994 Caribbean Music Song Festival. When Calton opted for a solo career upon his recovery, the band invited Kris-whose personal magnetism and rapping skills added a new dimension to the band’s live performances-to join permanently.

Since 1997 Inner Circle has undertake one of its most intense periods of touring playing to enraptured crowds, often in territories where few touring acts dare to venture. “In the last three or four years, we’ve been everywhere in the world, ” says Roger Lewis. “Brazil, Guam, India, Taipei, Beirut, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Asia, India the United Arab Emirates,” continues Lancelot Hall. “To some people a world tour is North America, Europe and Japan, but not US. If it’s on the map, we’re going there.” “Traveling around the world, you really learn that everybody’s basically the same,” observes Ian Lewis.

“We are all one, regardless of our different ideas, and music is the best way to communicate that. Music is the highest language; it transcends politics, geography, skin color-it transcends all the things that separate people.” In the New Millennium , this aura of all-embracing, positive, upbeat energy is palpable and it reflects the message of unity that’s more than just a slogan for this durable, tight-knitted band. According to Touter Harvey, “The name Inner Circle means family, and that’s what we are.

We’re all devoted to the band and each other, and that’s what makes us strong. We believe in the spiritual vibes of family and friends. Our success is nothing without warm, genuine people around to share it. Being successful is day-to-day just trying to be happy and keeping it real.

Current Members: Ian Lewis, Roger Lewis, Touter, Lancelot

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