Bob Marley biography

The prophet of Reggae music!

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, guitarist, and activist.

Marley is the most widely known performer of reggae music and regarded by many as a prophet of not just reggae, but also the Rastafarian religion.

Few artists have had such widespread recognition as Bob Marley. Between ’73, the year of his first major tour and ’81, when he sadly passed away due to cancer, Bob became one of our times most recognized performers.

Since Marley’s death, his legacy has continued to escalate and he has been inducted into many Hall of Fame’s and received numerous cultural awards including Greatest Album Of The Century for Exodus (Time Magazine).

Bob Marley classics include Could You be Loved, Jamming, One Love, Kaya, Buffalo Soldier, No Woman No Cry, Redemption Song, Stir It Up, Waiting In Vain, Is This Love, Three Little Birds, I Shot The Sheriff and Get Up, Stand Up.

In October 2021, Get Up, Stand Up! – The Bob Marley Musical, was set up in London’s West End. The U.K’s answer to New York’s Broadway.

Written by Lee Hall (Billie Elliot, Rocketman) and of course music by Bob Marley, it has received rave reviews and is clearly destined for great success.

When Marley wrote Redemption Song he was terminally ill

Redemption Song is a song by Bob Marley from the album Uprising.

The original and most famous recording of Redemption Song was performed on just one acoustic guitar. However, there are other versions, both live and in the studio, with and without a band. When Uprising was re-released in ’01, the full band version was featured as well as the original acoustic take.

When he wrote Redemption Song in ’79, he already knew about his cancer and was dealing with his mortality. How much this affected the meaning of the song might be dangerous waters to explore but there is usually a strong connection with timeless songs and great loss.

The lyrics do have a connection with a speech by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr, an African journalist, black nationalist and a main figure in the Rastafarian movement. Garvey and Marley shared the interest of fighting issues such as slavery, colonialism, and racism.

Pan-Africanism has hundreds of years of oppression behind it. Redemption Song speaks about this.

Seen as one of the ultimate campfire songs, Redemption Song can only be compared to other masterpieces such as Wish You Were Here and Blowin’ In The Wind.

Rolling Stone’s magazine ranked Redemption Song #66 on their list of Greatest Songs Of All Time.

I Shot The Sheriff

Released in 1973 on the album Burnin’ and also as a single, I Shot The Sheriff is one of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ signature songs.

Originally, Bob wanted to say I shot the Police but to avoid “fuzz from the government”, he decided that using sheriff would still get the message across.

Only a year after the original release, Eric Clapton had a cover version on his sensational album 461 Ocean Boulevard. This clearly helped to spread the song and must have introduced Marley to a wider audience as Clapton at this time was known worldwide.

Clapton’s version chartered better than the original, reaching the number one spot in the U.S. To this day making it Eric Clapton’s only U.S #1.

Apparently, Bob once came over to Eric’s house. After he left a note was found on the fridge door saying: I Shot The Sheriff, with the I being underlined.

I Shot The Sheriff – Chords

This one guitar arrangement of I Shot The Sheriff aims to combine the original bassline and chords in a way that reminds us of a band jamming.

In later lessons, we play the vocal melody and improvise up parts.

Go to I Shot The Sheriff chords.

I Shot The Sheriff – Lyrics

I shot the sheriff,
but I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!
I shot the sheriff,
but I didn’t shoot no deputy, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.

Go to I Shot The Sheriff lyrics.

Redemption Song – Chords

Bob Marley’s classic Redemption Song is many budding guitar players’ first attempt at playing a full song.

With a simple arrangement, powerful lyrical message and open position chords, surely this is the ultimate campfire song.

Go to Redemption Song chords.

Redemption Song – Lyrics

Old pirates yes they rob I,
sold I to the merchant ships.
Minutes after they took I,
from the bottomless pit.

Go to Redemption Song lyrics.