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Marley's Life & Legacy Remembered 33 Years Later

Marley's Life & Legacy Remembered 33 Years Later

Posted by Shanelle Weir on May 12, 2014

While millions sent greetings, postcards and gifts to mothers, many observed the 33rd anniversary of the passing of legendary reggae king, Robert Nesta Marley. He made the transition on the morning of May 11, 1981 in a Miami hospital, surrounded by members of his family.

He had barely passed his 36th birthday, the age at which it was reported that he prophesied his passing during a conversation with friends in Delaware, United States, 12 years before.

Since then, Marley has proven to be much more of a prophet than those private rants suggest, transmitting prophetic and moral messages to the entire world through his albums for Island Records: Catch fire,Burning, Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, Kaya, Survival and Uprising, all released between 1973 and 1981.

The passing of Marley often rekindles memories of a December evening in 1976, when the singer escaped death by a hair's breath. It was while rehearsing on December 3 with band members at his Hope Roadresidence, for a concert labelled 'Smile Jamaica' at National Heroes Park, that the drama unfolded.

During the incident, Don Taylor (Bob's manager), Rita Marley, and a friend, were also shot. It occurred during the height of an intense political campaign and general election due December 20 of that year.

The show was a peace concert designed to quell tensions between opposing political factions, but some, mistakenly or mischievously, tried to turn it into a political football, and Marley's inclusion became a source of controversy.

Rumour has it that Marley foresaw the incident in a vision two nights earlier and had the 'Powers of the Most High', come to his rescue when the gunman pointed a gun at his heart, only to realise that the bullet had slashed across his chest and lodged in his left arm.

It was an ambush in the night and Marley immortalised the event with a recording of the same name:


See them fighting for power,

but they know not the hour,

so they come with their guns,

spare-parts and money,

trying to belittle our integrity


They say what we know, is


what they teach us,

and we are so ignorant that

every time they can reach us,

through political strategy,

they keep us hungry,

and when we gonna get some


your brother got to be your


Well, ambush in the night,

all guns aiming at me,

they open fire at me.


Despite injury, Marley performed at the concert, and had the nerve to return two years later (April 22, 1978) for a similar concert at Jamaica's National Stadium, in which his never-to-be-forgotten heroics, the joining of hands of the two political leaders, Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, provided an example to be embraced by their followers.

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