Where Did Bob Marley Live?
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The reggae star is an icon for Jamaica but the island where he was born is not the only place where the singer lived during his life. Several emblematic places have, in fact, marked the life of Bob Marley. Where did the singer live? When did he live? How did he live? Here are some questions that you have probably already asked yourself.
As a reggae fan, I naturally wanted to know more about the life of the international star. I conducted my little investigation to discover where Bob Marley spent the main moments of his life. I was able to discover the main places where he spent his life and which naturally marked it.
From Jamaica to the United States through London, Bob Marley lived in different countries. And even though he always remained very attached to his native country, he was able to discover new ways of life, new musical styles and forged his fame around the world more easily.
Are you ready to travel with the reggae legend? Take your ticket and accompany me through the most important places where the singer lived:
Well, it's not a secret, you know, the singer was born on the island of Jamaica on February 6, 1945. He opened his eyes in Nine Miles, a small town in the north in the center of the country. The place is located in the mountains and remains quite isolated, especially where Marley was born. He was born in the home of his grandparents, who were in charge of the farmland. He stayed there until he was 12 years old, observing the farmers, who mainly specialized in coffee and bananas. His mother is the daughter of the owners. His father is said to be a former member of the British Marines (check it out if you want to know more about Bob Marley's father). He is little
- Jamaica ;
- Great Britain;
- The United States and Germany.
The journey will begin, follow me.
1- JAMAICA, BOB MARLEY'S HOMELAND
When his father died in 1955, Bob Marley and his mother left Nine Miles and moved to Trenchtown, a neighborhood in Kingston. The area, northwest of the capital, was not originally particularly poor. But this was no longer the case when Bob Marley arrived there. The construction of the neighborhood had to be accelerated after Hurricane Charlie destroyed many slums in 1951. Many families coming from the countryside to find a job in the capital also moved in. The neighborhood is mainly composed of small concrete buildings, without a sewage system, as the authorities did not have the time to install it. Bob Marley and his mother found an apartment in one of these buildings. They met the other occupants in the common courtyards (the yards) which were installed in the heart of the houses and served as common kitchens.
Bob Marley met Bunny Wailer who also settled there with his family.
a) Trenchtown, an important area for B. Marley
Trenchtown saw its population increase considerably and by the 1960s, the neighborhood had become a place of extreme poverty. This insalubrity will bring the inhabitants closer together. And the youngest. The district sees then small groups being composed. They are passionate about music and Trenchtown becomes a singularly fertile place in the musical field. Several musical genres were born there, such as rocksteady and then reggae from 1968. Among the inhabitants of the district, one finds Bob Marley, of course, but also:
- Bunny Wailer,
- Peter Tosh,
- Joe Higgs,
- Alton Ellis…
The neighborhood, initially quiet, nevertheless became a ghetto in the late 1960s. By the 1970s, the area had become dangerous. The opposition between the two political parties in the country accelerated the violence. Each party dominated sectors that were to clash violently. The heart of Trenchtown lies between the two zones of influence and will experience constant gun battles. In 1976, a state of emergency was declared in the neighborhood. Gang leaders became more and more important and drug and gun trafficking became part of the equation. The neighborhood became an extremely dangerous place in the 1980s and remains so today.
But Bob Marley left Trenchtown in the winter of 1966. The district strongly marked him and one can find traces of the place in various songs of its repertory like No woman, No cry, Trench Town or Trenchtown Rock.
b) A visit to the United States
He then joined his mother, who had moved with her new husband to the United States in Delaware, in Wilmington to be precise. He works in a hotel. But he misses Jamaica and goes back in the summer of the same year. It was at this time that he became interested in the Rasta movement and began to follow its precepts
He settled back in his native village and worked on his music. He recorded a few rocksteady records which had very limited success due to a lack of good distributors. He met Johnny Nash who wanted to make this musical movement known in the United States.
But the success remains absent and Bob Marley decides to leave his island in 1969 to settle permanently in the United States at the side of his mother. He recorded a few songs while working in a car factory. But there again, he does not know the success. He then decides to leave everything to go to England.
2- STAY IN LONDON FOR BOB MARLEY
Bob Marley went to London to meet a prominent producer: Leslie Kong. Marley had already worked with the man in 1962. The producer was very successful and helped Bob Marley to become known and appreciated by the majority of people. But things did not go as well as Marley would have liked. The recordings he made were not successful, once again.
Bob Marley vegetated. It was 1971 and the musician was still an unknown. Leslie Kong dies in 1971 mysteriously. The singer had already written more than 350 songs that appealed but did not have the success they deserved. He then got closer to te Rasta group Twelve Tribes of Israel and found Johnny Nash, then he decided to go to Sweden to rehcord the titles of a Swedish film Vil Sa Garna Tro (Love is not a game). He settled not far from Stockholm, in Nockeby at the end of 1970. He feels alone, far from his family and in the cold. He returned to London once his compositions were delivered.
a) The 12 A Queensborough Terrace
He meets J. Nash and goes to live in the district of Bayswate, at 12 A Queensborough Terrace, in an apartment lent by Danny Sims. But the atmosphere of the place is not very favourable to the creation. Girls are always coming in and out, the residents spend more time entertaining than working. B. Marley asked Danny Sims for a solution to find the calm he needed to write his songs. Sims will get him a room in a nearby hotel and after a few weeks will provide him with a house in the suburbs of Neasden.
b) The beginning of success
1972. Marley moved to 15 The Circle with his band in the summer of 1972. In March of the same year, he started attending the music club Live Bag O'Nails. There he met a music teacher, Keith Baugh, to whom he confided his difficulties. Baugh offered to organize a concert for his students with Bob.
The concert took place at the end of March at the Peckham Manor School (1 E Surrey Grove). Marley played with J. Nash for 45 minutes. The concert was a great success and the young students loved the music of this Caribbean singer.
It is also when he stays in Neasden that Marley signs a contract with the record company Island Records, just before leaving for Jamaica, where he will record the album Catch a Fire.
c) A return to England expected
At the end of 1972, Bob Marley moved back to London. He took an apartment in a Victorian building at 34 Ridgmount Gardens, in the Fitzrovia district. He begins to know the success and will sign with CBS Records. He starts a tour in Great Britain. At the same time, the album he recorded in Jamaica is mixed in London. It is in this studio (the Sarm West) that the singer will meet the Rolling Stones.
In January 1977, he moved into an apartment apparently above the studio. In November of the same year, he will record a new album, Top Gear.
He is going to assure then numerous concerts in England in the Lyceum Theatre (1075), in the Hammersmith Odeon (1976)...
To recharge his batteries, he decided to return to Jamaica. It is on his land that he will be victim of an attack at 56 Hope Road in Kingston, at the end of the year 1976. He then decided to leave the island for good and moved to Chelsea in January 1977. He is accompanied by his wife and his musicians.
This year, he will, during an interview, say that London is his second home. He feels good and safe there and likes the atmosphere, which is both lively and calm. He has a favorite pub where he likes to hang out with friends (The Cross Keys). He loves to play soccer at Battersea Park. He will remain attached to the London city until 1980. He made his last concert in London, at the Crystal Palace Bowl, on June 7, when he was already ill.
3- THE UNITED STATES AND GERMANY, BOB MARLEY'S LAST TWO COUNTRIES
1980 begins with several concerts in Africa and then begins an international tour that will take him through germany and the United States among others.
a) The United States, a difficult stay
It was in a more or less controversial cancer treatment center that Marley settled. The Ringberg Klinik, in Rottach-Egern, is directed by Dr. Josef Issels who offers the singer various alternative treatments:
- blood transfusions,
- injections of an as yet unrecognized anti-cancer agent,
- the THX,
- hyperthermia sessions...
The reggae icon suffers but manages to survive a few more months while his prognosis was more than committed. The man is only a shadow of his former self. He weighs less than 50 kg. However, he wants to celebrate his 36th birthday with his family. He knows he is finished and wants to return to Jamaica.
He decides to leave Germany. And when Dr. J. Issef declares, in May 1981, that he cannot do anything more to improve the state of health of the singer, he decides and leaves. It is thus the hour to leave Europe to finish his days at home.
Bob Marley will take a plane which makes a stopover in Miami. The stopover turns badly. He had to be rushed to the intensive care unit of the Cedars Hospital of Lebanon. It is there that the singer died on May 11, 1981, as you know.
He will know a national funeral in Kingston where his body is repatriated shortly after. He is then buried not far from Nine Miles, where he was born.
4- HOW TO DISPLAY YOUR PASSION FOR BOB MARLEY?
Internationally known and recognized star, the reggae icon has lived in few countries. But at every stage of his life, one place has had remarkable importance. Two countries have been particularly close to Bob Marley's heart: his native and beloved Jamaica, of course, and Great Britain, especially London.
As you may have discovered, Bob Marley's life was strongly influenced by his native land, an island to which he made many return trips. But also the city of London, where he knew the success so much expected. So you can answer all those curious people, who like you before your reading, were wondering about the most important places in the life of the Rasta singer.
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