Today, on what would have been his 67th birthday, we pay tribute to the great Bob Marley. Marley, sadly passed away in 1981 at the much-too-young age of thirty-six, but he still manages to have an impact and cultural presence today, thirty-one years after his death.
Marley’s ever-present message of unity and perseverance in the face of oppression has inspired indigenous communities worldwide. The Australian Aboriginals burn a flame in his honor in Sydney’s Victoria Park, Native American tribes revere his work and tributes to Marley take place all over the world from South America to India. There’s even a statue of Marley in Banatski Sokolac, Serbia! The United Nations recognized Marley’s inspirational message for the downtrodden and awarded him the Peace Medal of the Third World in 1978. For a musician to receive this honor demonstrates that there was more to Marley than a great voice and a captivating stage presence.
“Marley wasn’t singing about how peace could come easily to the World but rather how hell on Earth comes too easily to too many. His songs were his memories; he had lived with the wretched, he had seen the downpressers and those whom they pressed down.” – Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone