20 Things You Didn’t Know About Bob Marley

If you ask any Rastafarian, Bob Marley never left. While he’s been gone from the earth since 1981, his music and vision for peace has influenced generations.

Lovers of Marley’s precious discography and political stance have helped immortalized the legend as well as his children who’ve kept the Marley name strong in music. With celebrations taking place all over the world for what would’ve been his 73rd earthstrong, we gathered some not-so well known facts about the icon.

Check them out below.

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20. Because the Rastafarian Movement’s roots stem from Ethiopia, there is a Bob Marley statue erected there. There’s also a one in Kingston, Jamaica and another in Banatski Sokolac, Serbia.

Bob Marley Statue
CREDIT: Bill Wiatrak

19. Marley’s mother Cedella Booker has his body in a tomb above ground and will not be buried or displayed until the world is in a better place.

18. The Wailers were initially billed as a rock band and Marley thought Americans would interpret his music as R&B.

The-Wailers
CREDIT: Getty Images

17. Outside of red, green and gold, brown and beige were his favorite colors.

Bob Marley_1
CREDIT: Getty Images

16. “Three Little Birds” has been recommended by college elite to students as a means of easing anxiety.

15. He learned how to play the guitar in his late teens.

Bob Marley
CREDIT: Getty Images

14. Marley enjoyed ping pong.

13. While known widely as a Rastafarian, he was also a believer in Pan-Africanism and gave plenty of praise to Marcus Garvey. The cuts “Redemption Song,” “Zimbabwe” and “Exodus” were rich in odes to African diaspora.

12. Like Jimi Hendrixx and Chuck Berry, Marley has never won a Grammy. He was awarded posthumously in 2001. His sons have racked up quite a few. Ziggy has seven, Stephen has six and Damian has four.

Bob Marley's Children
CREDIT: Getty Images

11. Marley was awarded with the United Nations Medal of the Third World just before his first trip to Africa.

10. Marley’s skills in palm reading were frowned upon by older Rastafarians.

9. The “Bedroom Tapes” were discovered by Marley’s mother shortly after his death. Archivists believe the recordings were made while he was alone in his bedroom (hence the name).

8. The original live recordings of Marley’s concerts in London and Paris between 1974 and 1978 were restored last year after sitting in a damp London basement.

Bob_Marley
CREDIT: The Guardian

7. Marley’s 1976 recording “Johnny Was” was sampled in “Hold Ya Head,” a posthumous duet with The Notorious B.I.G. released in 2005.

6. He wasn’t a lover of luxury items, but did have a BMW. He’s been quoted as saying, “I have a BMW. But only because BMW stands for Bob Marley and the Wailers, not because I need an expensive car.” 

BMW_
CREDIT: Getty Images

5. Despite their many group hangouts, Marley shared his feelings to singer and future wife Alpharita “Rita” Constantia Anderson through a letter.

MOBO Awards 2005 - Show
CREDIT: Getty Images

4. The Wailers became the first reggae band to perform at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City in 1979. 

3. Rob Ford, the late mayor of Toronto, proclaimed February 6 as Bob Marley Day.  

2. Because of Marley’s brief stay in Delaware, the state has the Bob Marley Music Festival (also known as The People’s Festival) every summer.  

1. Marley’s mother had trouble registering his birthday so his birth certificate lists April 6 as his actual birth date.   

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READ: Trenchtown Rock: Being Bob Marley