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BORN to a middle-aged white father and a teenage black mother Robert Nesta Marley transcended the humility of his poor rural roots in Trenchtown Jamaica to become a platinum-selling musician and reggaes biggest star In the process he also become a semi-religious icon whose work in promoting peace justice and brotherhood nearly outweighed the brilliance of his music Marley began singing professionally at sixteen with two friends Bunny Livingston and Peter McIntosh later known as Peter Tosh The trio was heavily influenced by American vocal groups like the Drifters and the Impressions as well as Sam Cooke country singer Jim Reeves and the indigenous music developing in Jamaica at the time Marley cut his first record Judge Not with the Teenagers aka the Wailing Rudeboys in 1962 Later after adopting the band name the Wailers Marley and his associates began mixing political content with unusual covers And I Love Her Whats New Pussycat They experimented with slowing down the prevailing ska beat and called the results rude boy music In 1966 Marley married Rita Anderson and moved to the United States where he stayed with his mother But heeding the call of his homelands fast-growing Rastafarian faith Marley returned to Jamaica the same year As ska and rude boy music slowed down further into something called rock steady Marley was refining his own songwriting But it wasnt until 1973 after Marley pleaded with an Island Records executive that he had a chance and the budget to make his first professional recording The resulting album Catch a Fire which included Stir It Up and Toshs Stop That Train introduced reggae to an international audience With his accomplished band Marley gave rock fans something new to dance to and a powerfully compelling brand of lyrical consciousness From there fueled by his Rastafarian faith and its intoxicating communion ganja Marley went on to become reggaes ambassador and his songs of determination rebellion and justice
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