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|Passages: Bob Marley  Remembered|
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|Posted by:||May 11th 2004, 08:05:18 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Obituary
Bob Marley, the eloquent ambassador of reggae
Tuesday May 12, 1981
The death of Bob Marley, aged 36, from cancer yesterday robs Jamaican music of its first ambassador, and popular music in general of one of its most eloquent powerful and conscientious voices.
Over the past 10 years Marley has been almost single-handedly responsible for introducing reggae music to an international audience, and with it, the first popular knowledge of the Rastafarian faith which he followed and always espoused in his music.
Marley became a figure of incalculable influence and inspiration to the young.
The beautifully melodic quality which surfaced in Marley's work, allied to the irresistible reggae rhythm and the potent conviction of his lyrical messages which was to make Marley the first reggae artist to achieve recognition in the popular market, beginning with the album Catch a Fire in 1972.
When other rock performers recorded his work - such as Eric Clapton, who recorded Marley's song "I Shot the Sheriff" - the singer's reputation was enhanced still further.
Marley achieved the rare feat of being a popular figure, feted and lionised by the chic and the powerful, while remaining aloof to it all and without compromising his credibility as a spokesman for millions of young blacks.
He was obliged to leave Jamaica in 1979 after he was shot in the chest following appearances at public rallies in support of the then Prime Minister, Michael Manley.
Eighteen months after the attempt on his life, Marley returned to Jamaica and gave a concert at Kingston. In a new spirit of reconciliation, Manley and the Opposition leader Edward Seaga appeared on stage with him, alongside notorious gunmen from the two political parties.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
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