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Bob Marley: The Untold Story [Paperback]

Chris Salewicz
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Sep 2009

What was it about Bob Marley that made him so popular in a world dominated by rock’n’roll?

How is that he has not only remained the single most successful reggae artist ever, but has also become a shining beacon of radicalism and peace to generation after generation of fans across the globe?

On May 11, 1981, a little after 11.30 in the morning, Bob Marley died. The man who introduced reggae to a worldwide audience, in his own lifetime he had already become a hero figure in the classic mythological sense. From immensely humble beginnings and with talent and religious belief his only weapons, the Jamaican recording artist applied himself with unstinting perseverance to spreading his prophetic musical message.

And he had achieved it: only a year earlier, Bob Marley and The Wailers' tour of Europe had seen them perform to the largest audiences a musical act had up to that point experienced. Record sales of Marley's albums before his death were spectacular; in the years since his death they have become phenomenal, as each new generation discovers afresh the remarkable power of his music.

Chris Salewicz, who had a sequence of adventures with Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1979, offers us a comprehensive and detailed account of Bob Marley's life and the world in which he grew up and came to dominate. Never-before-heard interviews with dozens of people who knew Marley are woven through a narrative that brings to life not only the Rastafari religion and the musical scene in Jamaica, but also the spirit of the man himself.

Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment (17 Sep 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007255543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007255542
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,239,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Chris Salewicz is well versed in the details of Marley's accent… worth reading' - The Times

'Essential biography that also traces the evolution of rebel music. It's the author's owm conjuring of events - that make this book so valuable' - Mojo

'Where the veteran music journalist Chris Salewicz provides new insights is in his portrait of the musician's complex and troubled personality. Drawing on extensive interviews with those closest to Marley, he reveals a character afflicted by insecurity and instability' - Times Literary Supplement

'The definitive account of the man and the myth' - The Independent

About the Author

Chris Salewicz is an acclaimed music journalist and writer. He was at NME in the late 1970's and early '80's and has written copiously for the Sunday Times, The Face and Q magazine. His books include the classic biography of Joe Strummer and the lavishly applauded biography of Jamaica titled ‘Rude Boy’.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In too close..I think.. 13 Mar 2011
This is my first review so here goes.
When I first opened this book, I was hoping that I would gain an insight into the complexities of the man himself.
I anticipated that this book would give me the untold story as it claimed, it hinted at a biography, but rapidly developed into a discography and I would highly recommend it if you are into the nuts and bolts of his career, as this was what made up a large part of the book for me. I found myself becoming a bit frustrated at the first half of the book as it tended to skip back and forth and quote family and business associates, without actually giving reference to whom had made the quote. It redeemed itself in the final 5 chapters or so.

In my eyes it was a fairly sensitive account, although the author seemed somewhat starstruck at mundane things such as getting in a car with Bob and going to the gun court, for example, on the flip side this added to the awe that many have viewed Bob with.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 27 Dec 2009
I bought this book for my husband for xmas, he loves it. It was just what he was looking for. It gives a more indepth picture of Bobs roots and goes into the Rastafarian and Jamaican side of his life, rather than the commercial side we already know about. He's still reading the book and cant comment further but so far so good, well worth the money. The pictures look good too. Highly recommended!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bob Marley - The Untold Story 3 Aug 2010
Very informative, giving much information & insight and a real 'feel' for the situations Bob Marley and those who worked with him had to face, both in Ja. and overseas. Well worth the price, neither my husband nor I could put it down, it's as readable as a good novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great 16 Jan 2011
Salewicz has written a good book, but he lacks a critical eye when describing Bob Marleys life. It is clear that he writes as a big fan of Bob himself, fair enough, but to avoid making a critical judgement on Bobs actions whether they concern his career, his personal life (having a handful of different women & children) or his relations with close musical friends (very few musicians seemed to go with him the whole way in his career) leaves, for me, something lacking in this biography. My impression having read the book is Bob was a driven man, hardly stopping to take a break, even at the end when his life was on the line. Why was he like that?, why did he make that(those)choice(s)? Because he didn`t know how to do things differently? There is no satisfactory answer in Salewiczs story. He has the space to be objective but he doesn't use it. That aside it is a good read and certainly will fill out Bobs life in colour for anyone who wants to learn more about it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read 11 Dec 2009
a must read for any bob marley fans and even any soso fans .chris salewicz was very thorough in his research.
after reading the book more of the lyrics made sense .
after reading this i then bought rita marleys book to gain an insight into him from her prospective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative 25 Feb 2014
By Radiojock TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Chris Salewicz takes an emotional journey through the life of Nesta Robert Marley, telling of his family, birthplace, how the music began, Bob's children, his religion and other people who entered into his life.

We will see what making a record involved, along with the hard-core stamina needed for touring. Marley's death still comes as a shock throughout, and towards the end of the story.

A definitive read, and one I have thoroughly enjoyed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Untold story 18 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Have all ways been a fan & any story about him desevese top rating . Bob Marley has had a bad press in the past so positive ones are always welcome
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative 8 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought I knew a lot about The Man......
This book has been an amazing look at Bob...
A grat read.
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