by Robert Wilkinson
Today we honor the birthday of Robert Nesta Marley, a genuine prophet of the people of Rastafari. While not the first to bring reggae music to Babylon and the world, he was certainly the first Jamaican superstar, a man who moved tens of millions. Today we have some great live performance videos from several eras of his career, easily distinguished by the length of his dreadlocks.
As I wrote last year, the Wailers, composed of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh, set the all-time standard for Reggae music. After the original Wailers dissolved, each had major solo careers, and set styles into motion that influenced countless artists for generations to come. And of course, Bob brought in more "Wailers" who knew how to make us all celebrate "Rastaman vibration."
I had the blessing of getting up close when he performed in Austin about 30 years ago, and have never forgotten that concert for all kinds of reasons. It was definitely a gathering of one love, one heart, and one world. His music can definitely bring people together in ways very few other things can.
In a strange ironic twist of history, February 6th is also the birthday of Ronald Reagan and Babe Ruth. I cannot imagine three individuals more disparate than Bob Marley, Ronald Reagan, and Babe Ruth. I suppose that shows Sun signs are not all there are to our astrological story! This is another classic cosmic joke in timing, along the same lines as Jimi Hendrix, Caroline Kennedy, and "Buffalo Bob" Smith of Howdy Doody fame all sharing November 27th.
On with the show! First, some live performances of Bob Marley and the Wailers!
One of the greatest rallying songs of all time! Here's Bob performing Get up, Stand up live in concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 1979. Here's another performance of Get Up Stand Up at Sunsplash 1979.
Here's I shot the Sheriff, the song Eric Clapton made into a hit that awakened even more of the world to the power of Bob Marley's music. Another live performance of Bob Marley live in concert performing I Shot The Sheriff in Santa Barbara.
Here is a great version of the powerful Africa Unite live at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 1979.
Here's great footage of Bob performing at the One Love peace concert in 1978. This was a major concert that tried to bring harmony and reconciliation to Jamaica's political process.
A great version of the hit, Jammin'
Let's go positive vibration mon! From the 1979 Amandla Festival at Harvard University, Bob Marley and the Wailers performing Rastaman Vibration. Here's another live performance from Dortmund, Germany, in 1980 of Positive Vibration, with another version from Santa Barbara here, and a studio version with still photos here.
We have 1980 rehearsals of Rastaman chant/Concrete jungle in Criteria Studios in Miami, FL, said to be "probably the longest Bob Marley video footage you gonna see and... this is his last filmed rehersal session."
From the same session, Lively Up Yourself.
Another live version of Lively up Yourself" by Bob Marley at Sunsplash 1979.
Here are a couple of interviews that may help clarify some things about his philosophy and religion. First, Bob Marley on Jamaican Music, followed by the Bob Marley interview on marijuana. (The latter makes you swear you're old enough to enter before you get to view it!)
We now move on to a couple of non-performance music videos with stills.
Jah Rastafari! Happy Birthday, Bob. Today you would have been 65. It goes without saying that you died way too young, but I suppose that's one element in the legend of many immortals.
p.s. - Happy Birthday to Sista Miriam of the T Tribe. You're still one of the best! Give the charmer a hug from me.
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson