Bob Marley, The Day A Legend Died

Bob Marley left an unmistakable impact on music, culture, politics, marijuana legalization, and American lives from the 1970s to the present day, cementing himself a legacy that will last a lifetime.

On May 11th, 1981,  Robert Nesta Marley died from melanoma cancer at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, FL. They discovered these cancerous cells and removed them after Marley had a football accident in 1977 where he broke his foot. He was a talented musician and singer-songwriter. Marley had such an accessibly enjoyable reggae style. At the ripe age of 36, he died a true visionary and Rastafari icon.

According to Reggae Heritage: Jamaica’s Music History and Heritage, a book that tells the lives of Jamaican reggae musicians, Marley was a teenager and first broke new ground with The Wailers; the group included Bob Marley along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. With their studio album titled, The Wailing Wailers, debuting with worldwide classic tracks such as One Love and People Get Ready, released in 1965. Their legacy would soon be further thrown into the stratosphere when Island Records signed them on their label in 1973 as Bob Marley and The Wailers. They achieve worldwide recognition outside the Caribbean with the first label release album, To Catch A Fire, that same year. For the first time, reggae music hit the airwaves of the American and international mainstream. His cover of “I Shot The Sheriff” ascended Marley to the UK Top 10 chart in 1974.

There is no pop-culture icon or Rastafari more associated with the use of cannabis, otherwise known as “herb” as Marley called it, for spiritual purposes. Marley was a huge proponent of marijuana, its benefits, and the positive impact of marijuana legalization.

“Now, when you smoke, it makes you cool, you know? It makes you stimulate your mind and makes you sit down and meditate. Instead, a get foolish, you sit down and you meditate and be someone. Rum teaches to you be a drunkard, and herb teaches you to be someone,” said Marley.

Bob Marley achieved many things in his short time on earth. According to, Rolling Stone magazine awarded Bob Marley and the Wailers with Band of The Year in 1976. The United Nations presented him a Peace Medal Of The Third World in 1978, during a time of political unrest in Jamaica. As he was such an important and influential figure, he even received awards after his death. Marley was awarded The Order Of Merit due to his contribution to Jamaican culture in 1981. In 1994 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Bob Marley, with Bono of U2 presenting the award to Rita Marley, Marley’s widow. On February 6th, 2001, he was honored with the 2171st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

There is no doubt Bob Marley left and continues to leave an unprecedented mark on history by introducing reggae music and Rastafarian culture to the mainstream. His life and legacy live on across the world as he remains one of the most influential musicians of all time.

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