Bob Marley is known as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. More than just a musician, over the course of his career, Marley became a moral and religious figure. Born in Jamaica,he moved to Kingston at the age of 14, and in 1963, he formed the Wailers with Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston, Junior Braithwaite, and Beverly Kelso. Their first single “Simmer Down” became one of the biggest hits in Jamaica in 1964.
Over the years, the group evolved to eventually become Bob Marley and the Wailers and the group began a tour that covered Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The group produced several songs that reached the top of British charts including “No Woman No Cry,” “Satisfy My Soul,” and “Is This Love.”
Although Marley shunned politics, his songs of rebellion and unity held major influence in Jamaica and across the world and caused many of the powerful elite to see him as an enemy. His music spoke to people’s souls and called their attention to their common humanity. Some of his most successful songs internationally, such as “Redemption Song” and “Could You Be Loved,” were on his 1980 Uprising album.
Tragically, Marley died on May 11, 1981 after battling cancer. He died in Miami, Florida while trying to make one final journey to his beloved homeland of Jamaica. Just prior to his death, Marley was honored with the Order of Merit from the Jamaican government and the Medal of Peace from the United Nations. More than 30,000 people attended Marley’s public memorial service held at the National Arena in Kingston.
Despite never having won a Grammy nomination during his life, Marley was honored with The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. During that same year, a documentary about his life, Rebel Music, won a Grammy nomination for Best long Form Music Video documentary. Marley was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001 as well.
The following video includes 10 of Marley’s most successful hits that spoke to the souls of millions and won him fans all over the world.