When you hear the words ska and reggae, Bob Marley (1945-1981) is likely the first person who comes to mind. In addition to reassuring us all that “every little thing is gonna be all right,” Marley’s words and song lyrics exude peace, love and strength.
For a man who only lived a short 36 years, Bob Marley openly and honestly shared profound wisdom about both life and death in his music and interviews.
“But if you know what life is worth/ You would look for yours on earth/ And now you see the light/ You stand up for your right” - “Get Up, Stand Up”
“In this great future, you can't forget your past.” - “No Woman, No Cry”
“If you know your history/ Then you would know where you're coming from” - “Buffalo Soldier”
"You know you have two roads before you. You have life and you have death. The gift of god is life and all the other business is death.” - interview with Ann Arbor Sun, 1975
Bob Marley’s words about global peace, universal love, and internal strength have resonated with the world for decades. He took personal experiences and turned them into melodic messages anyone could understand and cling to.
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery / None but ourselves can free our minds.” - “Redemption Song”
“Don’t worry about a thing/ ‘Cause every little thing is gonna be all right” - “Three Little Birds”
“So this is the only way you know ‘em can unite — by knowing them father. So you can find the communication between you and the Black man and the man from Asia.” - interview with Hot Press, 1978
“That is why, for the unity of mankind, money or nothing else can do it. If we come from a different planet, we could never come together. But we all come from the same father. That is why it is possible to come together.” - interview with Hot Press, 1978
“To me the word love is God. That is my meaning of love — is God. When we say me love a woman or me love this, that is not right. God himself is love.” - interview with Hot Press, 1978
“Black people can make Africa the strongest nation on Earth. It is the only place where they will be allowed to be themselves.” - interview with Nelson George, 1980
“I am no prophet. I just conscious of things that happen. God make them happen.” - interview with Nelson George, 1980
Bob Marley is most known for his music, but it was more than music to him, it was a lifestyle and a way of sharing important perspectives.
“’Tis music. It can’t be political all the while, you know? Me never like what politics really represent. So it’s not really politic, it’s really talking about roots. Mon roots, y’know?” - interview with Hot Press, 1978
“We just sing to get them to sing.” - interview with Hot Press, 1978
“I not seeking stardom, but to spread Jah’s truth, so it can cover the Earth like the ocean.” - interview with Nelson George, 1980
“One man may write song, but we play and understand it as one. This vibration carries from the stage and can be felt by all who hear is… The truth powerful thing.” - interview with Nelson George, 1980
"Reggae is a vibration that you get from the earth, ya dig it. Reggae is different from all other type of music." - interview with Ann Arbor Sun, 1975