These Rare Bob Marley Photos Show the Power of 'One Love'
Bob Marley was more than just a music pioneer. The Jamaican singer and songwriter who sold more than 20 million records was an ambassador for peace around the world.
Throughout his life, Marley promoted "one love" — the idea of universal love and respect for all people, regardless of race, creed, or color. Marley died on May 11, 1981, at the age of 36 from cancer, but his message of peace and love lives on in his music and through photography.
These rare Bob Marley photos show the power of "one love."
Music for the People
Bob Marley was born on Feb. 6, 1945, in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica. The reggae pioneer made music that was loved around the world and would have been in 75 in 2020.
In 1976, Marley survived an assassination attempt at his home in Jamaica. Marley was shot in the chest and left arm but still performed a free concert in Kingston, Jamaica, two days later.
The concert was called "Smile Jamaica," and it was organized by Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley to ease tensions between warring political parties in Jamaica.
An Expression of Unity and Inclusion
If Bob Marley wasn't a reggae legend, he might have been a football (soccer) star. Bob Marley loved the game almost as much as he loved music.
In 1977, Marley and friends were due to play in a friendly match against French personalities in Paris, but due to bad weather, the match was canceled.
Bob Marley performed on many stages around the world. This concert took place in Bourget, Paris, on July 3, 1980.
Spreading a Message of Hope
Bob Marley with his backing singers in France in 1980.
Bob Marley performed at a reggae festival concert in Paris on July 4, 1980.
One song that wasn't heard for many years was "Iron Lion Zion," which was released in 1992 on the "Songs of Freedom" box set that included many rare tracks and unheard demos.
One Love, One Heart, One Destiny
"Marley," a documentary about Bob Marley, the charismatic icon of reggae music, was directed by Kevin MacDonald and released worldwide on April 20, 2012.
This Train Carries No Unholy
Bob Marley denounced materialism. "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively," he said.
You Never Know How Strong You Are, Until Being Strong Is Your Only Choice
Placing a higher value beyond material things was a running theme in his life.
Once, he was asked about fame during an interview," Are you a rich man, do you have a lot of possessions?" He replied, "I don’t have that kind of richness, my richness is life."
Love the Life You Live, Live the Life You Love
He sang about materialism in "Zion Train."
Don’t gain the world and lose your soul
Wisdom is better than silver and gold
Let's Get Together and Feel All Right
Bob Marley could engage an audience beyond his songs and music.
He also became famous for his lifestyle, charisma and charitable works.
People Is People
Bob Marley and The Wailers performed at the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl in London for the "Summer of '80 Garden Party."
Marley could get creative with his feet and loved to practice his football skills.
All that footwork was put to good use on stage where Marley was famous for his loose-limbed stage presence.
None But Ourselves Can Free Our Minds
Marley was the epitome of soulful.
One of his most soulful songs is "Redemption Song."
A sampling of the lyrics:
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds!
Have no fear for atomic energy
'Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book
Commitment to an Ideal
In 1978 amid political turmoil in Jamaica, Marley and other reggae performers took part in the One Love Peace Concert.
During the concert, Marley joined the hands of political rivals of Michael Manley (People's National Party) and Edward Seaga (Jamaica Labour Party) on stage to express their commitment to the idea of unity expressed by "one love."
Where There's a Will, There's Always a Way
Bob Marley played a historic concert in Dalymount Park in Dublin, Ireland, on July 6, 1980. It is believed to be Marley's last outdoor concert before his death on May 11, 1981.
Waking Up All Sleeping Souls
Priests and clergy from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church led a procession out of the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica, during the state funeral for reggae musician Bob Marley on May 22, 1981.
The Stone That the Builder Refuse Will Always Be the Head Cornerstone
Marley was a voice for the oppressed and encouraged people to stand up for their rights.
Bob Marley's mother, Cedella Booker, 74, reflected on the life of her son as she looked at his picture while sitting in her home in Nine Mile in St. Ann, Jamaica, in 2001.
Marley was the only child and Norval Sinclair Marley (1885–1955) and Cedella Booker (1926–2008), but Bob had at least four half-brothers and sisters.
An Influencer Before Social Media
Bob Marley fans discussed the influence of his music at the entrance to Bob Marley's grave at Nine Mile in St. Ann, Jamaica, in 2001.
Marley has influenced millions of people with his music for decades since he recorded his first song in 1962.
When Door Is Closed, Many More Are Open
Bob Marley's reggae music took the Jamaican musical genre to an international audience.
The Message Lives With the Music
Bunny Wailer sang the songs of Bob Marley at the One Love concert to celebrate Marley's 60th birthday on Feb. 6, 2005, in Kingston, Jamaica.
Wailer turned 73 in 2020 and is the only surviving member of Bob Marley and the Wailers, which included, Bob, Bunny and Peter Tosh.
Bob Marley's was popular with other musicians.
Here, he is with Dionne Warwick.
Paul Alliman carries out final preparations on the Statue of Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica, in 2005.
Jamaicans and scores of reggae fans from across the globe celebrate the late Bob Marley on his birthday and the anniversary of his death every year.
Make Way for the Positive Day
The combination of Bob Marley's uplifting instrumentals with his lyrics of empowerment, wisdom and love continues to inspire people.
One timeless classic that remains relevant is "So Much Trouble in the World."
Forever Loving Bob
One of Bob Marley's most beautiful songs is "Forever Loving Jah." In it, he quotes Psalm 1 with the following verse:
Because just like a tree planted
Planted by the rivers of water
That bringeth forth fruits
Bringeth forth fruits in due season
Everything in life got its purpose
Find its reason in every season
Bob Marley wanted to create a world where all people could live in harmony. He knew it would take time, but no matter the struggle, he preached an undying message of one love.
"Overcome the devils with a thing called love," Marley once said.
That message will live forever.