First published on April 6, 2020
Bob Marley died on 11th May 1981. His music however lives on and thrives. After his death, the Marley family, under the leadership of Rita Marley, went about establishing a company to manage the intellectual property, copyrights and general merchandise of Bob Marley. The entire Marley family has worked continually with absolute clarity and focus to keep the musical vision and legacy of Bob Marley alive and well.
Tuff Gong Records was established prior to his death under a distribution agreement with Island Records, under the leadership of Chris Blackwell in 1972, with the sole aim of promoting the group to international markets which he finally accomplished before he sold the label to PolyGram/Universal. Out of that distribution deal the 1984 “Legend” album achieved diamond certification on 7th March 1999 for over 10 million copies sold in the USA according to the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America).
The Legend project is the biggest-selling reggae album of all time. The compilation album has sold over 14 million copies in America with a further 25 million copies internationally
The album spent over 800 weeks on the Billboard Top Catalogue Album chart listings and went to number one on several occasions, the last on 26th June 2004.
In the UK the album also did very well by going to number one on the British Pop Album chart listing for 12 weeks in May 1984 and staying on the chart over 2 years, in the process selling 1.8 million copies, with a certified multiple platinum award from the BPI ( British Phonographic Industry ). One of Bob Marley & The Wailer’s songs, “Get Up, Stand Up”, was inducted into The Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 for lasting artistic and historical significance.
Bob’s other son Ziggy Marley, along with his brother Stephen and sisters Sharon and Cedella, has brought the Marley legacy to the Hip Hop generation via The Melody Makers, in the process obtaining tremendous success with two albums produced and released by Hip Hop generation . The musical journey started with the first album “Conscious Party” (Virgin 90878) which debuted at number 23 on the Billboard Album Pop chart listings on 14th May 1988 and was certified platinum for one million copies sold in America by 27th September 1991.
The album “Conscious Party” was the first recording project by the group to receive platinum certification in America and a Grammy Award for “Best Reggae Album”.
The follow-up album “One Bright Day” (Virgin 91256) debuted at number 26 on the Billboard Album Pop chart listings on 26th August 1989 and was also certified gold for half a million copies eventually sold in the USA on 16th November 1995. In addition to these two outstanding achievements, the band’s main single “Tumblin’ Down” (Virgin 99299), extracted from “Conscious Party”, reached number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart listings for 2 weeks on 24th December 1988. The track was remixed by Hank Shocklee, well-known for his successful work with Public Enemy, who gave the group a more Hip Hop sound.