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Why Late Bob Marley Wrote “One Love”

JAMAICA: “The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off, how can I” This statement explains the mindset of Bob Marley, a man who the world has not been able to forget. Due to the relevance of his lyrics and the unique abilities he possessed.

His well-known song about peace, unity and universal love “One Love” is a Reggae song which was done by ‘Bob Marley and the Wailers’ from their album “Exodus” some listeners believe the deeper message it brings got lost in the overwhelming chorus.

The song was first recorded in a ‘ska style’ by the Wailers, the original group in 1965 and then released in 1977 as a single. The rendition of the album made it to #5 on the UK chart.

Even though the song has an interpretation of a song that was written by Curtis Mayfield “People Get Ready”, copyright laws were not enforced for Jamaican recordings at the time.

The 1977 version became famous, it was recorded for a Jamaican British Label “Island Records” and its title was “One Love/People Get Ready” as Island Records wanted to avoid copyright issues and co-authorship credits were given to both Mayfield and Marley at that time.

Bob Marley had an idea, he wanted the people on earth to live as one, John Lennon sang “Imagine” and George Harrison’s “Give me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” they all had the same sentiments.

However, Marley’s solo song was written during the elections in 1976, there were turmoil and violence in Jamaica and Michael Manley the leader of the People’s National Party (PNP) won the election in 1972 and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) which was led by Edward Seaga, formed the opposition.
Bob decided to refuse to take a political stance as a person who was by far the most popular individual on the island. Both parties wanted to have him on their side, but he wanted the people to be united, he offered peace and shelter whenever he could.

Marley planned a free concert during the time when both the JLP and the PNP were trying to gain his support. The concert “Smile Jamaica” was planned as a collaboration between the Wailers and the Government’s Cultural Office.

This was not something Bob liked as he though Manley’s PNP had succeeded in transforming the concert into a promotional gig and turned it into the same partisan agenda that he was trying to discourage. He even said, “Dem a try fi use mi to draw crowd fe dem politricks” a source revealed.

He eventually caused Mr. Manley and Mr. Seaga to hold each other’s hands at the concert, but he was left in a delicate position that led to attempted murder when he was at his home on Hope Road, two days before the concert. Even though he was injured he still performed and the courageous performance was captured on video and the tension in the air was obvious.

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