How I learned about Bob Marley

I grew up in Kirksville, Missouri, the largest town within an 88 mile radius. Had to go to Hannibal, or Quincy or Columbia to get to a larger town.

But I’ve also had a life-long love of Bob Marley’s reggae music.

Late 1970s, my brother liked recorded music. He bought vinyl records, LPs as they were called back then. He bought Elton John’s Caribou album, which has a cover of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, “featuring the reggae guitars of Dr Winston O’Boogie”. I just found out this very night that “Dr Winston O’Boogie” was one of John Lennon’s aliases, but in the late 70s there was no way to find that out, and I was taken with the reggae guitars.

I ended up at the local record store looking for reggae music. I found a copy of Survival by Bob Marley. That album came out in 1979, so this was either late in my senior year of high school, or just after I’d graduated. In any case I bought Survival. My brother and I played the heck out of that album. Every single track is at least listenable, and most of them are great.

I went on to buy not only Survival but Uprising on vinyl, and Confrontation in cassette tape format. I’ve ended up with a life-long love of Bob Marley’s music. Sure, Marley exhibits some racism in his lyrics, and I’m one of the people who help keep up the Babylon System, and I’m sure I’ll end up weeping for my gold one day, but until then, I’ll be whistling One Love, and Rastaman Live Up.

Bonus Bob Marley Tenuously Related Story

Once in the mid-2000s I ended up at the Broadmoor Hotel in ultra-religious Colorado Springs. The event featured remarks from skeletal Democratic pundit James Carville, and his right wing wife Mary Matalin.

Afterwards, at the valet stand, a dude waiting with me in line said something to me about being ignored by the valets, and I wish I could remember what he said exactly. I quoted him some Bob Marley: “The stone that the builder refuse shall be the head cornerstone”. This is roughly a Bible verse, from Psalms 188 and also Acts, chapter 4, but the wording is from Ride Natty Ride.

“You know the scriptures!” the dude told me. I just shrugged modestly.