Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Anthony Weatherly and I were living on Villanova's campus and in 1979
he came to my dorm with Bob Marley's Legend album. It blew me away. That's all I ever knew about Bob Marley.

I was excited to hear that a documentary was being made on Bob Marley simply because I know absolutely nothing about the guy. 
Yesterday, after watching the movie, I walked away with a mix of feelings and emotions about Bob Marley and the impact on his music as a whole, and his influence on Jamaican politics in general.

It is a rag to riches story that ends far too soon as Marley died of cancer in his mid 30s just at the time that blacks outside of Jamaica were discovering his music. 
He was a profoundly spiritual man who gave all he had to his music and the people who clung to him, but he also was permitted to live a very open life having  many relationships and children which some found difficult to accept. 
In order to get his music out of Jamaica, he made decisions that some of his lifelong friends and band members didn’t agree with and they left Marley’s group to do things their way. But those who stuck with Marley went from playing before a few hundred to over a hundred thousand in just a few years. 
Marley couldn’t understand why blacks didn’t catch on to his music as whites around the world were mesmerized by him. He finally played in Africa which embraced him and in the last weeks that he was strong enough to perform he opened for the Commodores at Madison Square Garden and his final concert was in Pittsburgh. (I can’t imagine the Commodores coming on after Bob Marley’s performance. I wish they had shown that part).
The movie has a slow start as they chronicled Marley’s childhood years, his mysterious white father, and his trying to fit in to a society that didn’t take to kindly to a mixed child. Because he was considered an outcast, he tried extra hard to fit in, work hard, and find his way, and music became his outlet.
Overall, the movie was amazing. It was long, but I could have easily sat through more just to learn more about this fascinating man. 
It's playing at the Ritz at the Bourse.

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