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Rita Marley is Bob Marley's widow, and is best known for carrying on her late husband's musical legacy and developing her own career as a solo artist.
Rita Marley - Band Attacks (2:13)
Bob Marley - The Creed (2:08)
Bob Marley - Lyceum Theater (2:07)
Performer and political activist Bob Marley's widow, Rita, recalls the violent attacks on their band in their native Jamaica.
Bandmates of The Wailers are interviewed and discuss how Marley's friendship with the band, and his beliefs regarding the Rasta Revolution.
Bob Marley saw his fame skyrocket during a time of political turbulence. In England, he was booked at the Lyceum Theater and Marley fans filled the theater to hear and feel Marley's message.
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Rita Marley is Bob Marley's widow, and is best known for carrying on her late husband's musical legacy and developing her own career as a solo artist. She has six children, three from her marriage with Bob. After Bob's death in 1981, Marley established a charitable organization, the Bob Marley Foundation, to fight poverty and hunger in developing countries.
Rita Marley was born as Alpharita (or Alfarita) Constantia Anderson in Cuba in 1947. Sometimes called the "Queen of Reggae," Rita Marley has carried on his musical legacy of her late husband, Bob Marley, and has developed her career as a solo artist. Abandoned by her mother when she was just 5 years old, she was raised along with her brother, Wesley, by their father and their aunt in the Kingston, Jamaica neighborhood of Trench Town, one of the city's roughest slums. Her mother took her other brother, Donovan, with her.
When she was 13, Marley was left in her aunt's care while her father moved to England to look for work. He supposedly told her that she would join him later, but that move never happened. After high school, Marley went to the Bethesda School of Practical Nursing. But an unexpected pregnancy derailed her education. She had her first child—a daughter she named Sharon—in 1964.
Starting out by singing along to the radio, Marley eventually began practicing with her cousin Constantine "Dream" Walker and her friend Marlene "Precious" Gifford. The trio later sang for the Wailing Wailers, a local group made of Bob Marley, Peter McIntosh (later Peter Tosh), and Bunny Livingston (later Bunny Wailer). The band liked what they heard and got the trio an audition with Clement "Coxsone" Dodd. Dodd ran the Studio One record label. The trio became known as the Soulettes, and Dodd asked Bob Marley serve as a mentor for the young group. The Soulettes had a hit with the song "I Love You, Baby." Sometimes the group also sang backup for the Wailers. Marley also had a few solo hits of her own, most notably, "Pied Piper."
Over time, Rita and Bob Marley fell in love, and they married in 1966. They welcomed their first child together, a daughter named Cedella, in 1967. The next year, the couple had their first son, David, who is known by the nickname "Ziggy." The couple struggled financially and professionally. They spent some time in the United States, working for singer Johnny Nash's JAD Records in the late 1960s and lived with Bob's mother for a time in Wilmington, Delaware. In the early 1970s, Rita returned to her mother-in-law's home to live and work, hoping to improve her family’s financial situation. With her daughters staying with her aunt, Rita had her son Ziggy with her, but decided to go home to Jamaica after she gave birth to son Stephen in 1972.
Returning to Jamaica, Rita discovered that Bob had been involved with two different women while she was away. Both women got pregnant and these children, Robert Marley and Rohan Marley, were born not long after Stephen.
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From Babylon to Zion, they are the international artists who have revolutionized reggae, a musical genre that originated in Jamaica in the 1960s. At that time, the genre took on a more pop-based sound. Over the past several decades, however, reggae music has transformed to include various sub-genres such as rocksteady, roots reggae and steppa. Our list of Reggae Artists includes musicians of various styles and experiences, from Rastafarians to raggamuffins to sapps, to everyday mon; read about world-renowned musicians like Toots Hibbert, Peter Tosh, Judge Dread, Alton Ellis and Bob Marley.
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