Bob Marley music: Did Bob Marley invent reggae?
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Bob Marley was a symbol of peace and love for many, and his music defined a generation. His death came as a huge shock, but the genre of music he played, reggae lives on. Did Bob Marley invent reggae, and if not, who did?
Like most musical genres, it is hard to pinpoint who invented any genre.
However, while Bob Marley was a pioneer of reggae, he did not invent it, as there were others performing it before him.
With that being said, he was certainly one of the first performers to bring reggae into the mainstream.
Reggae music grew from ska and rocksteady, which were two other genres which came out of Jamaica during the early 1960s.
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Rastafarianism also had a huge influence on reggae growing out of these genres, with artists like drummer Count Ossie making important early recordings.
Some of Count Ossie’s early ska recordings date to 1959, after which The Wailers, Bob’s band, came together in 1963 and began recording ska music.
They continued to record ska, then rocksteady, before performing reggae, which soon became the mainstream.
When Bob gained recognition as a solo artist, his co-founders of the group, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, left the group, and the band became Bob Marley and the Wailers, his touring group.
Bob continued to make reggae a far more mainstream genre, also singing about political causes in his songs.
However, his career was to be cut short when he died on May 11, 1981, aged just 36.
His death came only a few years after he discovered a malignant melanoma, meaning his cause of death was from skin cancer.
In July 1977, Bob found a lesion under the nail of his toe, which was a symptom of the cancer.
It turned out to be a melanoma and, after consulting two doctors, a biopsy showed he had acral lentiginous melanoma.
This type of skin cancer is considered to be one of the deadliest, and is not caused so much by sun exposure, but is often found in places which are easy to miss such as under the toenails.
Bob could have had his toe amputated, but instead chose not to do this, and instead the nail and nail bed were removed and covered over with a skin graft.
He continued to tour for some time after, and in 1980 was expected to embark on a world tour.
His album Uprising came out in 1980, which he was going to take on tour, and the band moved around Europe before embarking on their USA leg.
After performing to huge shows in Madison Square Garden in New York City, he collapsed while jogging in Central Park, and it was discovered the cancer had spread to his brain, liver and lungs.
Two days later, Bob performed his final concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 23.
His health deteriorated dramatically after that point and the rest of his tour was cancelled while the performer sought treatment in Germany.
It has been reported Bob sought alternative cancer treatment, known as Issels treatment, which includes “clean living” and avoiding certain food and drinks.
After eight months of this, where it has been said very little progress was made in treating his cancer, he went home to Jamaica, but during the flight his condition worsened a great deal.
He was forced to land in Miami, Florida, and went to hospital there for immediate treatment, but he died on May 11, 1981.
While he died aged just 36-years-old, his legacy lasted for years and years.
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