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  • Gav Munro

Bob Marley- Facts and Portraits

So today is the 36th anniversary of Bob Marley's death at 36 years old, so he's been dead as long as he was alive.

The Jamaican singer/songwriter has always fascinated me. His music is hypnotic, soulful and full of optimism, spirituality and cries for equality. It's i possible to listen to 3 Little Birds without feeling a sense of reassurance and elation.

So to celebrate with 10 cool facts about the man together with some portraits I have painted of the legend over the years...

1. He was actually born Nesta Robert Marley but his first and middle names were swapped around after a comment was made that Nesta was seen as a girl’s name.

2. As a child, he practiced palm reading.

above: In this portrait I tried to capture the softer characteristics of Marley's face

3. At 21, he lived in Delaware with his mother for several months where he worked the night shift at a Chrysler plant.

4. His band, The Wailers, was originally named The Teenagers. Bob and the band were once fired from a tour because they were more popular than the act they opened for.

above: his is a very early sketch I did back in 2007. I scribbled this upside down following one of Betty Edwards revolutionary drawing techniques

5.The royalties from No Woman, No Cry are sent directly to a soup kitchen in Jamaica.

6. Despite sellout world tours and multi-platinum albums, he never won a Grammy while alive.

7. In 2001 Bob Marley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

above: Here I was trying to get the performance trance look that he would go into when performing

8. His album Legend has remained on the Billboard charts for the second longest charting of all time. It’s the 17th album to exceed 10 million sales.

9. Bob performed a free concert for 80,000 attendees in Jamaica days after he was shot. He survived the armed assassination and took to the stage two days later where he proclaimed: “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”

10. A 1977 football injury led doctors to discover a malignant melanoma in Marley’s toe. They recommended amputation, but he refused for religious reasons. The tumour then spread, which ultimately caused his death.

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