COMMENTARY |AFP reports that Wednesday is the 30th anniversary of musician Bob Marley’s death. Marley died May 11, 1981, at the age of 36 due to cancer and was known to many as the singer and songwriter who made Jamaican music mainstream while strumming his Gibson guitar. There are no plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his death, however, because it seems that his popularity and spirit is fading away.
There are a lot of memories I have of Marley over the years, but the most memorable to me was when I first heard “I Shot the Sheriff” on the 1973 album “Burnin.'” I was about 5 at the time and my dad had put this album on for me to listen to because I loved rock music. I heard “I Shot the Sheriff” one time and was instantly hooked; it became my favorite song to listen to as I played outside with my friends.
This was special because it was the first time I was introduced to the music of Marley. His soulful voice and insane guitar playing appealed to me. I also remember this because my dad got pulled over by a police officer on the same day I first heard this song.
I will also remember that in December 1976, Marley was going to have a free concert in Jamaica as an attempt to help heal the political tensions the country was going through. Marley, his wife and his manager were wounded in an attack, Bob suffering gunshot wounds to his chest and arm. Witty Profiles reports that Marley proceeded with the free concert a couple days later and, when someone asked him why he was still going through with it, he simply said, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”
This quote was very special to me and something I will always remember about Marley; even though the attacks were thought to be politically motivated, he did not let it get in the way of his concert or the healing he was trying to accomplish.
I will also always admire what Marley said to his son Ziggy right before he died, which was “money can’t buy life.” This is something that I have said since I was little and heard that Marley uttered these words right before he died. It affected me to hear Marley say that because he realized you can have all the money in the world and it does not guarantee you live to be 100. It also affected me because he had cancer and a lot of people in my family died of cancer; this just hits home about how the amount of money you have does not matter against a terminal disease. It is just something I find scary knowing that no matter how much you try, you cannot guarantee you will survive through everything.
Anthony Foster, “Bob Marley: The legacy wanes but the cult lives on”, Yahoo! News
Bob Marley Official Website, “Life and Legacy”
Witty Profiles, “Bob Marley Quote After Being Shot”