Bob Marley: The Reggae Revolutionist
Nesta Robert Marley, better known to the world as Bob Marley, became famous as a Jamaican singer-songwriter who with his world-renown reggae albums, rallied for social change and at the same time made people forget their worries and dance! Such was the power in his music. From the time they were in school, Bob Marley and Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer) played music, and eventually formed the group ‘The Wailers’. Though the original idea was to be a purely vocal harmony group, Joe Higgs (of the successful vocal act Higgs & Wilson) started teaching Marley the guitar, which later led to his celebrated cross-over reggae songs.
In 1966, Bob Marley and ‘The Wailers’ released some of the earliest reggae tracks the world had ever heard. Working solo after this, his work culminated into the production of the album Exodus in 1977 which set the base for his international reputation. This gifted artist departed at the age of 36 but his songs became even more famous thereafter. Despite not being recognized even once by the Grammies in his lifetime (not even a nomination!), he posthumously won the ‘The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’, with some of his albums selling 250,000 copies annually.
The Rastafarian faith pervaded most of Marley’s life which is why his songs were often steeped in spirituality. His faith was also the reason he never wrote a will. Despite having cancer and knowing his imminent end, he didn’t believe in death, and hence, wrote no will. His estate, worth roughly US$30 million then, had many claimants. And to complicate matters further, the estates of musicians and artists continues to earn revenues even after their death.
Family feuds followed Marley’s death—Marley’s widow and his mother had clashes, his 12 kids (4 by his wife and 8 by other women) were entitled to an equal share in the estate and each of them fought to get the most out of Marley’s legacy. Not exactly something you want your family to do after you’re gone.
Incidentally, Marley had asked his lawyer if things would be fine without a will and, unfortunately, the lawyer said it would. Luckily, you won’t be misguided by false lawyers. Write a will while there’s still time. We all want to live a long and happy life, writing a last will won’t change that, it’s simply an insurance for your family if things turn out otherwise.
Live well. Leave peacefully.