One of the twentieth century’s most revered cultural figures, Bob Marley was responsible for carrying reggae music far beyond the Caribbean and establishing it as an international force. He set attendance records that still stand in Europe and his 1977 Exodus album was hailed by Time magazine as the greatest of the 20th Century, but Marley was no mere pop star: His combination of politically and socially conscious lyrics, unforgettable melodies, uncompromising Rastafarian beliefs and fierce hostility to the injustices of "Babylon" made his music the voice of the poor and dispossessed all over the globe.
In this new biography, Garry Steckles tells Marley’s story from his birth in rural Jamaica to his tragically early death in 1981, by which time he’d overcome poverty and prejudice to become the Third World’s first superstar.
Steckles, who has been intimately involved with reggae for more than three decades as a writer, concert promoter, broadcaster and fan, transports you into the smoky Kingston studios where Marley made his first recordings, documents his often turbulent relationships with reggae legends like studio pioneer Clement "Coxson" Dodd, fellow Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, and the wildly eccentric producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, introduces you to behind-the-scenes legends like Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and the PR genius Charles Comer, and takes you on the Rasta roller-coaster that carried Marley to the cover of the Rolling Stone and global adulation.
If you have never heard or read about Bob Marley, this book is the best place to begin…. For someone like myself who knew Marley personally and has read nearly everything ever written about him, the book makes me feel like I’m reading about Bob Marley for the first time… If you want to place a Marley biography in your library, this is the one to buy.
Barbara Makeda Blake Hannah, Eminent Rastafarian author, broadcaster and journalist.
Bob Marley succeeds in telling the story of a man who has left an incredible library of work to be enjoyed by generations to come with warmth and style. It is a treasure of Marley lore, an inspired examination of the man, his music and his legacy. Quite simply -- to put it in musical terms -- it is a hit.
Bob Marley is worth the time for anyone interested in the post-Beatles era, reggae music, and Jamaican life, society and politics.
Bob Berlinghof, Caribbean Compass
Steckles focuses on the musical narrative of Marley’s life and, by so doing, crafts a biography that is rich in musical detail and lore ... Bob Marley: A Life is the initial instalment of Macmillan's Caribbean Livesseries ... If they are all as informative and as well written as Garry Steckles’ splendid biography, it promises to make for a memorable series on the history of Caribbean politics and culture.
Caribbean Review of Books