music musings

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Bob!

…you make me feel like a sweepstakes winner

I’m a full week late on writing on my annual Happy B-day Bob blog post, sigh. But, as a fan, I learn from Bob and have learned (especially in recent events), that I must -ABOVE ALL- forgive myself. If I hold every little thing I do against myself, then how will I ever forgive someone else, right? Anyways, this isn’t a post on self-love, forgiveness, etc., but on the celebration of the existence of Robert Nesta Marley!

While many genres of music may debate until they reach their graves on whose the king/queen of that genre, I think with reggae, it’s pretty damn easy. Of course- there’s many, many bands/artists that have reigned on the stages of reggae and ska (some of my faves being UB40, Jimmy Ciff, Gregory Isaacs, Peter Tosh, Inner Circle, Burning Spear, and the list goes on and on…), but Bob Marley was the King and still manages to stay the King. It must have been how much he was loved on every continent, his political choosings, his death, and his happy, sad, lovely, and political songs. He even managed to use almost literally an entire speech by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I before the United Nations General Assembly in June 1963 to record one of his famous songs, “War.”

Bob has always been close to my heart and the discovery his music (and reggae music) brings back many happy memories of my life and personal growth. He was first introduced to me by my brother, Ali, and although right now, my brother is not really the same guy I once knew, whenever I listen to some of Bob’s songs, I manage to tap back into the memories of the brother I knew and loved and keep the hope alive that he’ll return one day.

Bob’s always been in a constant in my love life and the love(s) of my life… he just seems to have a way with with the words of loveromance, and everything that follows after.

Happy B-Day Bob. I sometimes wish I was born in a different time so I would’ve had the opportunity to see you in concert.

But it’s all good xo,



Happy Birthday Bob

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.” 

Reggae king Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley, would have been 67 years old on Monday, February 6th. He was the first Jamaican superstar who gave hope to the thousands living in poverty and oppression and preached through his ska, rocksteady and reggae music.

Songs like “One Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Exodus,” “Zimbabwe,” and “No More Trouble” allowed not only the people of Africa to move to positive vibrations, but people of all continents.

Born to a white father and a black mother, he criticized the corruption of the masses and urged freedom from mental slavery, while reminding many to live with love and peace. He constantly emphasized the abolishment of racism and hate, stating “Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side. Me dip on God’s side.” Marley was a not only a musical voice but also a political voice that criticized social injustices. Because of his involvement in politics, there was an attempted assassin in 1976 before his “Smile Concert” in Kingston, Jamaica.

With the melodies of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, the early Bob Marley & The Wailers set the stage to revolutionize reggae music that seeped everywhere, despite cultural and social boundaries, and hit the right notes on what people of the world were feeling. Marley’s music was something (and is still something) that everyone can listen to.

A common misconception is that reggae music equals marijuana music. Granted, it does have some “mellow” instruments, but nevertheless every facet of Marley’s music has a different tune and beat that works for every feeling. “Get Up, Stand Up” calls for rising to claim your rights, “Is This Love” playfully expresses the blissful feelings of those in love, “Easy Skanking,” and “Punky Reggae Party” let’s you move to the bass in any environment.

While it may be difficult to pick out a favorite, “Redemption Song” is one that is highly cherished by all Marley fans. Marley was a great singer and musician for sure —but he was a greater songwriter. “Redemption Song,” written in 1979 when he was already diagnosed with cancer, is an acoustic that expresses the painful confrontation with morality, reminding one that “nothing can stop a good time,” and immortalizes Marley with Marcus Garvey’s quote, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”

Since his passing on May 11th in 1981 at the young age of 36, Marley’s legacy has been cherished throughout the world. His music has influenced many greats after him: UB40, Eric Clapton, U2, and Sublime. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, Time Magazine named Exodus Album of the Century in December 1999 and “One Love” was titled Song of the Millennium by BBC. In 2001, he was given The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was the 2,171st star added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bob Marley’s music has lived with us for fifty years now and we know there are many more left. Happy Birthday, Bob.

Marley’s Top 10 for V-Day:
Change up the mood with some of Bob’s best 

  1. Stir It Up
  2. Is This Love
  3. Satisfy My Soul
  4. Turn Your Lights Down Low
  5. Mellow Mood
  6. Waiting In Vain
  7. No Woman, No Cry
  8. Soul Shakedown Party
  9. Could You Be Loved
  10. One Love