The elder Marley, considered one of the most prolific artists in history, is widely celebrated for taking the reggae genre mainstream in his almost 20-year career before passing away at the age of 36 after battling cancer. The “One Love” crooner rose from the hard streets of Jamaica’s Trenchtown to global superstardom in the 1970s thanks to his inspiring, often challenging songs about love, oppression and faith, including “Three Little Birds,” “No Woman No Cry,” “Redemption Song” and “War.”
Marley died in 1981 after a slow, steady rise that began in 1963 with his band The Wailers, and which took him through a fertile mid-1970s peak during which his blend of ska, rock steady and reggae exploded onto the global stage on classic albums including Catch a Fire (1973), Burnin’ (1973), Rastaman Vibration (1976) and Exodus(1977), which sold more than 75 million copies. Though his career has been the subject of past documentaries and tribute albums, including 2012’s widely acclaimed “Marley”, however, there has yet to be a biographical film.
Ziggy Marley has had quite the career of his own in the near 40 years he’s been performing, producing documentaries on his father, guest starring on TV shows and winning the Grammy for Best Reggae Album last year, as well as winning a Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2009 and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Original Song for a Children’s and Animated program. He has also worked on several projects celebrating his father’s legacy in the past, including Bob Marley & The Wailers: Easy Skanking in Boston ’78. He also executive produced the documentaries Bob Marley Legend Remixed and Marley Africa Roadtrip.
His late father’s biopic will likely highlight Marley’s upbringing, documenting his life as a bi-racial child growing up in 1950s Jamaica, and the discrimination he faced before going on to become reggae music’s foremost ambassador and a celebrated pop culture icon whose music has withstood the test of time, and continues to hold a special place in listeners’ hearts.
Marley just released his seventh studio album, “Rebellion Rises,” last month, which debuted at 193 on the Billboard Top 200.