Friday, April 13, 2012

Legends in the Sky - Rasta Man Bob Marley


My Day with Bob Marley

While it is a bit early to honor Bob Marley's death which happened May 11 it is never too early or too often to celebrate any day for Jamaican Bob Marley.

However, there is a new documentary about Marley produced by his son Ziggy Marley that is being released in a week or two in theaters and I want to urge all of you to see it.  According to Ziggy it gives a great account of the man, the mystery and the mission.

It is called simply "Marley".

Bob used reggae music not just for entertainment, but to teach, preach and reach people's minds, hearts and spirits the world over. He used his music and lyrics to promote love, understanding and tolerance while confronting racism, inequality and injustice with a defiant message. celebrate.

Of course anyone who cares knows all about Marley and his music so this is about the day I spent with Bob a few years before his death in 1981 at the age of 36.

It was the middle of winter and I worked in Washington, D.C. at the time.  I was trying to fly to Omaha, there was a blizzard in Chicago which was my connection, and I was trying to find any other route around the storm.

Since the blizzard was heading east from Chicago I booked a flight through Minneapolis - St. Paul and boarded the plane.  It would be very cold in Minnesota but I could catch a connecting flight into Omaha that night.

On board I sat down and right next to me sat a guy with dreadlocks and an island shirt, in the middle of winter.  It was Bob Marley.  Seems the plane originated in Florida, flew to Washington and on to Minneapolis.

For the next several hours Marley and I talked and laughed about everything under the sun.  Seems he was on his way to the University of Minnesota to be a visiting lecturer for a professor who taught music.  The professor had been one of Marley's earliest fans, way before the hits came, and used Marley as a subject in teaching.

When Marley heard about it he became friends with this northern professor and was on his way to meet with the professor's music class.  I asked him if he was ready for the cold and he said he had no idea it was so cold there and didn't even have a winter coat.

I gave him my pullover sweatshirt which he appreciated when he stepped out into the frigid Minnesota night.  But for several hours cold was the least of our discussion.

We were about same age and Marley was surprised a kid from Iowa like me knew of and liked his music.  In my life I have never met a more humble and soft spoken person.  Since I was a former newspaper reporter I talked to him as if I were doing a story.

He told me how he had mixed parents, one White and one Black. About the difficulties of growing up in Trench Town, a poor neighborhood of Kingston.  It was so named because it was built over a sewage trench.

A low-income community of squatter-settlements and government yards, Marley quickly learned to defend himself against the bullies and bad men of Trench Town.  He laughed how his formitable street fighting skills he learned to survive earned him the respectful nickname "Tuff Gong".

His grandmother was a tremendous influence on his music career as she was a Christian and gospel singer. His grandfather was a musician.

We talked about his first American tour as the opening act for Bruce Springsteen and his second tour with Sly and the Family Stone who were at the peak of their career. Marley and the Wailers were dropped from the tour after just four performances because they were over shadowing the stars. He laughed about it.

But it was his passion for peace, love and justice that was amazing. Marley was sent to serve humanity, to awaken mankind to the wrongs in the world, and to use his power and influence as a rock star, which he found quite uncomfortable, to help.

After several hours the magical journey finally came to an end. I gave him the sweatshirt to keep him from freezing to death, he invited me to see him in concert the next summer, we hugged and parted company.

1 comment:

Download Rasta Bob Apk said...

awesome I put-off buying this for months,