Ask the man in the street to name a reggae musician and he will answer Bob Marley. Ask the next man to name a reggae tune and he’ll probably give you Redemption Song, Could You Be Loved or No Woman, No Cry.
Bob Marley IS reggae music. No doubt about it.
His appeal 31 years after his death from melanoma at age 36 remains incredibly powerful. And this is despite his relatively short career in the global limelight, spanning from the Island debut album Catch a Fire in 1973 to his untimely death in May 1981.
Marley is the latest documentary about the man and his music. It has taken almost four years in the making and is meant to be the definitive story of the singer, and was created in cooperation with the family.
Super director and producer Martin Scorsese was originally attached to the project in 2008, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. The film was finally completed under the direction of Oscar and BAFTA winner Kevin Macdonald, of The Last King of Scotland fame.
It contains interviews with Bob Marley himself as well as his friends and family, including Ziggy Marley, Neville Garrick and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald of the Wailing Souls. It also includes concert footage and unique photo material courtesy of the Marley family.
The story of Bob Marley has been told many, many times before in both books and motion pictures and those hoping Marley will add new and never been told fascinating details will probably be disappointed.
But Marley is however the best documentary of the singer yet, since it digs deep during its more than two hours worth of running time. It’s a truly fascinating story of a son rejected by his father determined to be a musician. A story of a generous, unfaithful and focused human being who found a father figure in Haile Selassie and became an activist and a role model to people in Asia, in Europe, in the Caribbean, in the U.S., in Australia, in the Middle East and in Africa.
I’m not sure there will be another artist of the Bob Marley caliber ever again. An artist whose music speaks all people irrespective of class, gender or race.