Interesting Facts About Bob Marley’s Life and Music

Bob Marley’s Album ‘Exodus’ Was (Briefly) the Best Album of the 20th Century

Bob Marley and the Wailers - 'Exodus'
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Exodus by Bob Marley was named the “Best Album of the Century” by Time Magazine in 1999. They had a change of heart in 2006 and left Exodus off their list of the top 100 albums of the 20th century. However, Marley’s Legend and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, which included a number of Bob Marley’s contemporaries, most notably Jimmy Cliff, also made the list.

Bob Marley Lived in Delaware. Yes, Delaware.

1966 Chrystler 300
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In 1966, Bob Marley, having a hard time making a living as a musician despite a few nationally-popular ska hits, left Jamaica for 10 months to live with his mother in Wilmington, Delaware.  He worked in a Chrysler automobile plant.

No Bob Marley Song or Album Ever Won a Grammy, but Bob Marley Did

Ziggy Marley at the 2001 Grammy Awards
 \. WireImage / Getty Images

Despite being one of the best-selling artists of all time, Bob Marley never won a Grammy Award for any of his specific works. He did, however, win a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2001. His sons Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley have each won five Grammy Awards, and his Damian has won three. Marley’s former Wailers bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer won one and three Grammy Awards, respectively.

Bob Marley Was a Vegetarian

Bob Marley, singer The singer sat with a Jamaican cap
Sigfrid Casals / Getty Images

Because of his Rastafarian beliefs, Bob Marley kept to an Ital diet. Ital is based on the same ancient dietary laws that kosher and halal diets are based on, but Ital is somewhat more open to interpretation by the Rastafarian than either of the aforementioned diets would be to the Jew or Muslim, respectively. Marley’s interpretation made him a vegetarian.

Bob Marley Had 11 Kids. Or Maybe 13.

Kaya Fest
 Stephen Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Ziggy Marley and Julian Marley perform at Kaya Fest at Bayfront Park Amphitheater on April 22, 2017 in Miami, Florida. WireImage / Getty Images

Bob Marley was as prolific at fathering talented children as he was at writing and performing songs. He biologically fathered at least nine children with at least seven women (though most estimates put the total number of biological children at 11) and he adopted two more. Of his acknowledged children, seven are internationally-acclaimed musicians (Sharon, Cedella, Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, Ky-Mani, and Damian).​

Bob Marley Wrote “No Woman, No Cry”

"No Woman No Cry" Black Vinyl 12" LP
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Well, duh! “No Woman, No Cry” is one of Bob Marley’s most famous songs, right? Sure. But check your album and you’ll see that the song is credited to “V. Ford” or “Vincent Ford.” Ford was an old friend of Marley’s who ran a soup kitchen in Kingston, and by giving Ford the songwriting credits to what would become a hit song that was covered dozens of times over, Marley essentially funded the soup kitchen in perpetuity. No word on where the royalties are going today, but here’s hoping they’re still helping people out.​

B.M. Drove a BMW

1977 BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile
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Bob Marley owned at least one BMW car in his lifetime. He publicly stated that he really didn’t care that it was a luxury automobile, he just liked the coincidence that the initials for Bob Marley and the Wailers were BMW.

Bob Marley Refused to Amputate His Toe Because of His Religious Beliefs

Bob Marley Performs On Stage
Express Newspapers / Getty Images

Bob Marley died of melanoma, a skin cancer which spread throughout his body. The original melanoma was found on his toe, but when doctors suggested amputation, he refused, based on his religious beliefs.​

Bob Marley Was Buried With His Guitar, Among Other Things

Access to the grave (left) and the house (right) of Bob Marley at Nine Mile
By Enrospr (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bob Marley was buried in a crypt in Nine Mile, St. Ann Parish, Jamaica (also his childhood home) with a few of his favorite things: his Gibson Les Paul guitar, a soccer ball (he loved soccer/football, both as a fan and as a player), a Bible (the Rastafarian faith takes all of its basic tenets from the Christian Bible), and a bud of marijuana (Marley believed in marijuana’s use as a religious sacrament).