Facts and Figures 19 October 2014

Bob Marley

Bob Marley was born in St. Ann on February 6, 1945. His father, Norval St. Clair Marley, was a white Naval Officer. Marley's mother's name was Cedella Malcolm Marley.

Bob Marley's move to Kingston was a milestone in his life. During Bob's eighteen months in Kingston he was introduced to music. This was an introduction that would have profound effect on the rest of his life, the Jamaican community, and the world.


His music Career

The music of Bob Marley and The Wailers was filled with images of Third World strife alive with symbols and sayings derived from Jamaican and African traditions. Later their music began to concern itself with social issues on the island, whether it was denouncing police harassment as in "Rebel Music" or in "Them Belly Full" about poverty and hunger.

The first song attributed to Bob Marley was "Judge Not" produced by Leslie Kong, when Bob was a teenager. It was soon followed by "Terror" and "One Cup of Coffee". In 1962 the Wailers were formed with Neville O'Riley Livingston, popularly known as "Bunny Wailer", Winston Hubbert McIntosh, also known "Peter Tosh", Bob Marley, Rita Anderson-Marley and Beverly Kelso. In 1963 the Wailers big break came with their first single "Summer Down" which stayed on the charts at number one for two months. It was quickly followed by the release of "Rude Boy" and "Jail House".

In late 1974, a new group was formed with Bob performing as lead singer with the I-Threes - Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths as back up singers. From 1976 onwards, Bob Marley and the Wailers drew large crowds to their concerts. They have toured extensively throughout countries such as the United States of America and Canada, the continent of Europe, Trinidad, Japan, Hawaii, Australia and most memorable of all Zimbabwe, Africa.

Bob Marley has left a legacy to the world, in the creation of Reggae Music. Jamaica has become known worldwide because of the popularity of the man and his music.

Facts and Figures 16 October 2014

Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff was born in Somerton District, St. James, Jamaica. He began writing songs while still at primary school in St. James, listening to a neighbour's sound system. In 1962 his father took him to Kingston to go to Kingston Technical school where he ended up sharing his cousin's one rented room in East Kingston.

He sought out many producers while still going to school, trying to get his songs recorded without success. He also entered talent contests. "One night I was walking past a record store and restaurant as they were closing, pushed myself in and convinced one of them, Leslie Kong, to go into the recording business, starting with me," he writes in his own website biography.

After two singles that failed to make much impression, his career took off when his "Hurricane Hattie" became a hit, while he was aged 14. It was produced by Kong, with whom Cliff remained until Kong's death from a heart attack in 1971. Cliff's later local hit singles included "King of Kings," "Dearest Beverley," "Miss Jamaica," and "Pride and Passion." In 1964, Cliff was chosen as one of the Jamaican representatives at the World's Fair and Cliff soon signed to Island Records and moved to the UK.

Island Records initially (and unsuccessfully) tried to sell Cliff to the rock audience, but his career took off in the late 1960s. His international debut album was Hard Road to Travel, which received excellent reviews and included "Waterfall" (composed by Nirvana's Alex Spyropoulos and Patrick Campbell-Lyons), which became a hit in Brazil and won the International Song Festival.

"Waterfall" was followed in 1969 by "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" and "Vietnam" in 1970, both popular throughout most of the world. Bob Dylan called "Vietnam" the best protest song he had ever heard. Also during this period, Cliff released a cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" as a single, but it was not included on his Wonderful World, Beautiful People album.