Reggae music and the name of Jamaican musician Nesta Robert Marley are inseparable. He is responsible for bringing the worldwide fame to this music genre.
Bob Marley is remembered by joining the Rastafari movement in the 1960s and his dreadlock hairstyle, which reflected the Rastafari belief that biblical Nazirites were encouraged to make some vows which included the ritual treatment of hair.
When the atmosphere on the island of Jamaica became tense during the 1970s, due to political circumstances and problems that came with widespread use of drugs and weapons, Marley started dealing with actual problems through his music. His audience recognized and appreciated his honesty and artistic criticism.
During this restless time, Marley accepted an invitation to perform at the Smile Jamaica concert, but just one month before this event, an incident happened. He was at his home when somebody opened gunfire at his house. Attackers entered his home, and during this unfortunate event Don Taylor, Marley’s manager, was shot, as well as his wife Rita Marley, who was trying to protect her children. This incident was witnessed by a reporter from the Jamaica News. Marley was injured when the shooter fired a bullet in his arm. Even though this shooter fired off eight shots, only one of them hit Marley.
After this attack, Neville Garrick, an art director for the Jamaican Daily News, claimed that he had a film showing some mistrustful people near Marley’s home. The idea of someone sneaking around his house was enough to upset Marley. However, he didn’t let this incident to prevent him from performing at the Smile Jamaica concert, where he performed only one song. The song was implying involvement of the CIA in the attack against Bob Marley. Right after the attempt of assassination, the belief that this organization was responsible for it, became widespread. The film of potential attack suspects, made on the day of the attack, was stolen just before Marley and his band Wailers flew to London.
Some people believe that there was another, more subtle, attempt of assassination during the Smile Jamaica festival. After the first attack, only a few people knew about Marley’s whereabouts. However, according to the reports, Carl Colby, son of CIA Director William, posing as a film crew member managed to get past the security, even though he didn’t have any piece of filming equipment. Just before the Marley’s performance, a package addressed to him was discovered, containing cowboy boots. It turned out that there was a copper wire inside one of the boots, which raised a question whether somebody used that wire to poison Marley with some carcinogenic substance.
According to Don Taylor’s memoirs published in 1992, there was a CIA agent infiltrated in Marley’s environment, with the goal of killing Marley. As Taylor explains, Marley was threatened with his life, by the CIA agents, in case he returned to Jamaica before the 1976 elections.
Marley was diagnosed with cancer in 1977, after injuring his toe during a soccer game in Paris. Medical examinations after the injury of the toe, the same toe that was stung by the copper wire from the boot, discovered that Marley had metastasized cancer. At first, Marley refused any kind of medical treatment, but when he changed his mind, it was too late.
After leaving the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, he accepted an invitation to a consultation with Dr Josef Issels, a German Holistic Immunotherapist from the Ringberg Clinic in Bavaria. Treatments of this doctor didn’t help him at all. There were even rumors about the doctor’s Nazi background or even his connection with Josef Mengele.
All we now know for sure is that Bob Marley will keep living through his music. The intriguing question about whether the CIA had to do anything with Marley’s disease remains unanswered.