(1945 – 1981)
Jamaican singer, songwriter and bandleader Bob Marley is the biggest star Reggae has produced, credited with bringing the music to international prominence. A charistmatic performer, he was also a gifted songwriter, whose best-known hits include "I Shot the Sheriff" "No Woman, No Cry," "Could You Be Loved," "Stir It Up," "Get Up Stand Up," "Redemption Song," "One Love," "Buffalo Soldier" and "I Shot the Sheriff" (prominently covered by Eric Clapton, who had a hit with the song in 1974).
Much of Marley's music was heavily influenced by the social issues of his native Jamaica, and his popularity and stature were such that his pronouncements on public issues were accorded the attention usually reserved for political or religious leaders. He survived a political assassination attempt in 1976 when gunmen entered his home, shooting him twice; Marley left the island soon after, settling in London.
In 1980, Marley collapsed while jogging in New York City; doctor's found that he'd developed brain, lung and liver cancer. He died eight months later.
Legend, a best-of compilation spanning Marley's decade with Island Records, released in 1984, remains the best-selling Reggae album in history, as well as the top selling album by a Jamaican artist. More than 30 year after his death, Legend remains a perennial best-seller — the second longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine (after Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon), it has sold over 25 million copies.