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Bob Marley is a figure shrouded in both fame and mystery. While his music continues to inspire and uplift millions worldwide, there’s much more to this complex individual than his chart-topping hits. Did you know he survived an assassination attempt? Or that he had 11 children? Did you know about his early years as a palm reader?

Prepare to be intrigued as we explore 10 fascinating facts about Bob Marley that you probably didn’t know, shedding light on his personal life, hidden talents, and the events that shaped him into the global icon he became.


1. The Making of “Tuff Gong”

Due to his biracial background, Bob Marley faced significant challenges growing up, particularly after relocating with his mother from their rural village to Kingston. Under colonial rule, deep-seated racial tensions persisted within the Jamaican community, and Marley was often bullied and derogatorily called “White Boy.”

However, he quickly earned a new moniker, “Tuff Gong,” on the streets of Trenchtown, the impoverished neighborhood he called home. This nickname reflected his resilience and courage. The name, which Marley would later use for various ventures, including his record label and studios, also paid homage to Rastafari movement founder Leonard “The Gong” Howell, suggesting a connection to exceptional abilities and strength.


2. Two Albums in the UK’s Top 10 Most Streamed

Bob Marley’s impressive standing in the UK streaming charts, where their greatest hits compilation album, “Legend,” is the 5th most streamed album from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Furthermore, their iconic 1977 album “Exodus” holds the 10th position on the same chart, making them, alongside Oasis, the only artists with multiple albums in the top 10.


3. Assassination Attempt on Bob Marley

On the evening of December 3, 1976, just two days before the Smile Jamaica Concert, tragedy struck Bob Marley’s residence at 56 Hope Road. Seven gunmen stormed the property. Marley’s wife, Rita, was shot in the head in her car in the driveway. Marley was shot in the chest and arm. His manager, Don Taylor, and band employee Louis Griffiths were also injured.

Miraculously, despite being shot in the chest and arm, Marley survived, as did the others who sustained gunshot wounds. The motive behind this violent act is widely believed to be political, reflecting the turbulent socio-political climate of Jamaica at the time.


4. Bob Marley’s 11 Children

Bob Marley had 11 acknowledged children, though speculation persists about the existence of others due to his numerous affairs.

Five of these children were born to his wife, Rita, including her firstborn, Sharon, whom Bob adopted upon marriage. Among his offspring, Ziggy, his second-born with Rita, and Damian, born from his relationship with Cindy Breakspeare, have achieved notable international success in music, carrying on their father’s extraordinary musical legacy.


5. Bob Marley is Ranked Among the Top-Earning Deceased Celebrities

Bob Marley secured the 9th position on CEOWORLD magazine’s 2023 list of “The Highest-Paid Dead Celebrities.” His legacy continues to generate substantial income through various avenues, including his family’s licensing of brands for coffee, audio equipment, apparel, and lifestyle goods.

Estimates value Bob Marley’s estate at $30 million or more. Due to its enduring popularity and posthumous success, some believe it could reach $500 million.

Marley’s impressive music career has also resulted in over 75 million album sales in the past two decades. Notably, his compilation album “Legend” is the best-selling reggae album of all time, with over 12 million sold in the US, over 3.3 million in the UK, and an estimated 25 million copies sold globally.


6. Bob Marley Was Passionate About Football

Football was a driving force in Bob Marley’s life, second only to music. He immersed himself in the sport, surrounding himself with footballers and playing enthusiastically with his team in various settings, from parks and fields to car parks and even recording studios.

While his favorite club remains a topic of debate, with some suggesting Tottenham Hotspur, Marley’s admiration for Pelé and the Brazilian team was undeniable.

His passion for the sport was so profound that he once declared, “Football is a whole skill to itself. A whole world. A whole universe to itself. Me love it because you have to be skilful to play it! Freedom! Football is freedom.”


7. Bob Marley’s Real Name is Nesta Robert Marley

Bob Marley’s birth name was Nesta Robert Marley. However, a Jamaican passport official reportedly reversed his first and middle names because Nesta sounded like a girl’s name. So, his official name became Robert Marley, which he was known by throughout his life and career.


8. At the Age of 16, Bob Marley Recorded His First Song, “Judge Not”

Desmond Dekker and Bob Marley shared a common trade as apprentice welders, but their passion was music. Dekker, pursuing his musical aspirations, successfully auditioned for Beverley’s Records. Recognizing Marley’s innate talent, Dekker invited him to join a recording session.

At just 16 years old, Marley penned and recorded “Judge Not” in 1962, a song reflecting his experiences with poverty and racial identity. His raw talent shone through, catching the attention of those around him. Marley remained forever grateful to Dekker for providing this invaluable opportunity, which marked the beginning of his legendary musical journey.


9. Bob Marley’s Football Injury and Tragic Cancer

A 1977 football injury led doctors to discover a malignant melanoma under Bob Marley’s toenail. They strongly recommended amputation of the toe to prevent the cancer from spreading. However, due to his Rastafarian beliefs, which consider the body sacred and discourage amputation, Marley declined the procedure.

Despite undergoing alternative treatments, the cancer tragically metastasized, spreading throughout his body and ultimately leading to his untimely death in 1981 at the age of 36.


10. Bob Marley’s Early Years as a Palm Reader

Numerous accounts suggest that from a young age, Bob Marley possessed the ability to read palms. His mother, Cedella Booker, initially dismissed these claims as childish imagination, but as his predictions reportedly came true, she grew increasingly astonished by her son’s apparent gift.

As Marley matured and dedicated himself to his music career, he seemingly abandoned palm reading, shifting his focus toward his true passion. The often-repeated anecdote of him responding to a woman’s request for a palm reading by stating, “I’m not reading no more hand: I’m singing now.”


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AlexandreG.
Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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