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Bob Marley: Early Years

Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica

Although Bob Marley was born in the small village of Nine Miles, in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica, he and his mother, Cedella Marley, would eventually move to Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica.  It was during this period that Bob and his friend and "brother," Neville "Bunny" Livingston, would listen to the blues and R&B on their transistor radio while dreaming of becoming famous musicians.  In 1962, Marley would record his first two songs, "Judge Not" and "Do You Still Love Me?" with Leslie Kong's Beverley's label.  During this period, Marley would experiment with different forms of music, including ska.  By 1963, Bob Marley formed a band that would eventually be known as The Wailers with his friends Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer) and Wintson McIntosh (Peter Tosh).  Their first single, "Simmer Down," became a ska hit in Jamaica.  Eventually, the sound of ska would morph into the reggae sound that Bob Marley and the Wailers perfected.  

Trench Town, Kingston, Jamaica

Trench Town Culture Yard

Photo Attribution: YardEdge

Children playing in Trench Town

Photo Attribution: The National Archives UK

Books From Our Library Collection About Jamaica

Web Site Links About Jamaica

Bob Marley "Trench Town Rock" Video

Reggae Music Resources

Follow the below links for Reggae music resources.

Ska LibGuide

For more information on the history and music of Ska, follow the below link to our Ska LibGuide.

SKA NICK - Reggae, Ska, Rock Steady, Jamaican R&B Podcast

Listen to these earlier sounds of Jamaican music!

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Guide Created By:


This guide was created by Mary Rodriguez-Noble, a MLIS student from Kent State University. The guide was completed as part of her practicum hours.

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