Born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6,
1945, in Nine Miles (St. Ann) Jamaica, from a middle age white father and a teenage Black
mother. Robert Nesta Marley transcended the humility of his rural beginnings to
become not only a million-selling artist and stadium filling entertainer, but a nearly
religious figure whose pleas for brotherhood and justice achieved universal anthemic
status. At the young age of 16, he started singing professionally, releasing his
first single "Judge Not" on the Beverley's Label, under the names Robert Marley
and Bobby Martell. However, "Judge Not" and its follow-up "One Cup of
Coffee" were not successful.
Due to his musical hunger he asked Joe
Higgs to tutor him, Joe Higgs was a recording artist who coached local youngsters like
Marley, Bunny Livingstone, and Peter Tosh who would become (The Wailers) for free.
Signed in 1963 to Coxsone Dodd's Studio One Label, The Wailers saw their first release,
"Simmer Down," become
an instant number #1. During the next two and a half years, the group recorded over
a hundred songs, and at one point in 1965, they held five of the top ten slots on the
Jamaican charts. Noticing that they were not getting enough of the money made from
their records, they formed their own label, Wail'n Soul in 1966.
The Wailers continued a series of local
hits, with little financial remuneration. Following the album "Best of the Wailers"
with producer Leslie Kong (which may have led to his own death), they joined forces with
the seminal oddball producer, Lee Perry, and produced an amazing series of singles that
are collected under a variety of names and remain their finest hour. In 1972, Island
Records President Chris Blackwell signed The Wailers to a record contract. Allowing
them to release records under there new label, Tuff Gong, but after there first two albums
with Island, the group broke up, leaving Marley at the head of the band (now named Bob
Marley and the Wailers), to which he added a female backing trio.