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Marley, Ziggy 1968–

Ziggy Marley 1968

Singer, songwriter

Son of a Legend

Formed The Melody Makers

Matured as Songwriter

Returned to Roots

Released Solo Album

Selected discography

Sources

Ziggy Marley is well-known as the son of reggae legend Bob Marley. However, Marley has spent more than 20 years in the music business carving out a name for himself on his own terms. While willing to accept his role as heir to his fathers throne as king of reggae, Marley has built on his fathers music and life to create a broad eclectic spectrum of reggae sounds that bring in influences from roots rock to hip-hop. Between 1985 and 2000 he released ten albums with three of his siblings, known as the Melody Makers. In 2003, after a decade of falling sales and declining public interest in his music, Marley released his first solo album, Dragonfly, which sparked renewed critical attention and praise, with particular notice given to his hit single, True to Myself.

Son of a Legend

David Marley was born on October 17, 1968, in Trenchtown, a poor section of Kingston, Jamaica, the oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Rita (Anderson) Marley. Despite his humble beginnings, Marleys life was soon transformed by his fathers growing fame. The senior Marley soon moved his family away from the tough Trenchtown streets, but could not entirely shield them from the violence that permeated all of Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s. Popular around the world, in Jamaica Bob Marleys status neared mystical proportions. He was revered as a poet and a prophet, which was cause for concern among the islands radical political factions. On December 3, 1976, both Bob and Rita Marley were seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

Banned by his parents from the recording studio during his youngest years, Marley, who was given the nickname Ziggy by his father, grew up playing soccer and fishing in Jamaica. When his fathers music business brought the family to the United States, Marley spent several years living and going to elementary school in Wilmington, Delaware. His father taught him to play drums and guitar, and at the age of ten, back in Jamaica, Marley began sitting in on sessions with the Wailers, his fathers background group, which included his mother Rita, also an accomplished singer.

When Marley was 11 years old, his father was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. After spending time in

At a Glance

Born on October 17, 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica; son of Robert Nesta and Alpharita Constantia (Anderson) Marley. Religion: Rastafarian.

Career: Musician; founder and leader of the Melody Makers, 1979-; solo artist 2003; voice actor, Shark-slayer, 2004.

Awards: Grammy Award, for Conscious Party, 1989; Grammy Award, for Fallen is Babylon, 1997.

Addresses; Management Office Bob Marley Music Inc., 632 Broadway, Suite 901, New York, NY 1001. Website http://www.ziggymarley.com.

the United States attempting to fight the disease, the senior Marley eventually returned to Jamaica to live out his final days. He died in 1981 at the age of 36; Ziggy was 12 years old. In 1979, knowing his death was imminent, Bob called Ziggy into the studio to record a childrens song he had written in 1975. Children Playing in the Streets was a protest song that dealt with the terrible conditions of poverty under which most of Jamaicas children were raised. Ziggy took lead vocals on the track, with background vocals provided by his older half-sister Sharon (Ritas oldest daughter, adopted by Bob), his younger brother Stephen, and his older sister Cedella. The proceeds from the single were donated to the United Nations Childrens Fund. Later Marley recalled the studio session in an interview on the Relix website: I remember it was like a free-for-all. We were just like children expressing. We werent singing in key. We just sung. We were free and whatever notes came out it was okay. It wasnt even like a big deal. We just went there to sing and we just sing.

Formed The Melody Makers

The four Marley children, who became known as the Melody Makers, began performing at special functions, including their fathers state funeral in 1981. Marley began to write songs for the Melody Makers, and in 1985 the group released their first album, Play the Game Right. The album was formed around the reggae sound of their father and included the single Children Playing in the Streets. Along with the title track, other cuts included Reggae is Now, What a Plot, and Naah Leggo. Although the album received mostly positive reviews and attention, album sales were not impressive. Just 17 years old at the time of the albums release, Marley was still finding his place in the music world, dealing with both the privileges and problems of being heir apparent to the vacated throne of the king of reggae. Marleys strikingly similar physical appearance to his father fueled comparisons and heightened expectations.

Although Marleys lyrics were socially conscious, and many of his songs were written in the political protest vein of his fathers music, the Melody Makers were marketed as another teenage kiddie band. Following up their debut album with the release of Hey World! in 1986 under the EMI America label, the group once again experienced the disappointment of poor marketing by the record label. Although the album once again earned positive reviews, sales lagged. When EMI pressured Marley to abandon his siblings for a solo career, Marley passionately defended the cohesiveness of the Melody Makers and his complete commitment to performing with his family. Rita, who served as her childrens manager, abandoned EMI to sign a deal with the Virgin label, which promised to keep the Melody Makers intact.

The Melody Makers third album was produced by husband-and-wife team Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of the group Talking Heads. Conscious Party, released in 1989, became the Melody Makers breakthrough album, winning a Grammy Award for best reggae album of the year. The album featured an eclectic mixture of reggae, roots rock, and pop that combined seemingly opposite influences within single tracks. For example, the cut New Love melds a dance beat with both a ballad setting and rootsy undertones. Other tracks included the upbeat Have You Ever Been to Hell, and Lee and Molly, a roots rock tune about love gone terribly wrong. The album included contributions from some of Jamaicas best-known reggae artists, along with appearances by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, the Ethiopian band Dalbol, and the cast of the Broadway musical Sarafina!. For Marley, Conscious Party became the proving ground for his own talent and charisma. Previously listened to primarily as Bob Marleys son, Conscious Party gave Ziggy a voice all his own.

Matured as Songwriter

The Melody Makers released three more albums on the Virgin label: One Bright Day, Jahmekya, and Joy and Blue. One Bright Day followed closely on the heels of Conscious Party in 1989. As with most of the Melody Makers albums, Marley was the featured songwriter. He continued to mature as a songwriter, and One Bright Day features songs that are uplifting and optimistic without edging over into the preachy and pretentious. According to Jose F. Promis, who reviewed the album for All Music Guide, There is not a single dud on this thoroughly engaging set, which helped cement Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers as first-rate artists in their own right. Conscious Party and One Bright Day popularized Marley and the Melody Makers reggae tunes among the urban crowds in both New York and California.

In the decade that followed Bob Marleys death, Jamaican music turned from reggae to dancehall music, which became very popular among younger Jamaicans. Released in 1991, Jahmekya ventured in new directions that reached out to the new hip-hop element with its digitized beats, while continuing to incorporate meaningful lyrics. Stephen, the youngest member of the Melody Makers, took a stronger lead on Jahmekya, authoring or co-authoring a number of the tracks. Although Marley himself was beginning to lean toward the more mature sounds of the urban rock scene in the United States, he fully supported the new directions explored by the group on Jahmekya. According to Billboard, Marley said, I wanted to change everything with this album. I just wanted it to be different. When we were recording, I would say, That sounds too much like me, lets try something new. I wanted to stir it up. The album was subsequently nominated for a Grammy Award.

Joy and Blue, released in 1993 when Marley was 25 years old, once again took the group in new directions, dominated by more soulful and personal lyrics. The Melody Makers stepped away from the influence of the Jamaican dancehalls and softened their approach to their roots rock past, bringing to life some of their best lyrics to date. Mama is a tribute to Rita Marley, who continued to serve as her childrens manager and occasional background vocalist, and the groups soulful cover of There She Goes honors their legendary father. Despite slower sales than previous releases, Joy and Blue once again proved the eclectic appeal of the Melody Makers and their ability to alter their music as they matured.

Returned to Roots

Disturbed by the slow sales of their previous two albums and unhappy with the publicity efforts of Virgin, in 1995 the Melody Makers switched to the Elektra label to release their seventh album. Free Like We Want 2 B looked back to the reggae-dominated beats of Conscious Party and One Bright Day. The title track Free Like We Want 2 B is something of a rebellious song, at least indirectly aimed at shrugging off years of being compared to their father. When asked by the Michigan Chronicle yet one more time about living in his fathers shadow, Marley responded: The thing is that it is not my intention to come out of any shadow. My intention is only to make music. I dont know what they [the public] expect of me. A lot of people expect not what they are getting. The song Tree Like We Want 2 B is about becoming a slave to no one.

The album, which introduced small changes in the way of style, provided some sharper-edged political songs, more in line with the protest songs of their father. Hand to Mouth addressed the exploitation of the Jamaican worker and the existence of many hungry children in Jamaica. G7, another politically loaded song, focuses on the exploitation by the seven major world powers who play god and king to the rest of the world.

Marley and the Melody Makers released three more albums under the Elektra label: Fallen is Babylon, The Spirit of Music, and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1. Experiencing declining popularity during the 1990s after peaking in the late 1980s, the Melody Makers were rewarded in 1997 with a Grammy Award for Fallen is Babylon. Once again incorporating elements of roots rock, reggae, hip-hop, blues, and even rap, the Melody Makers offered something for everyone on Fallen is Babylon. The most popular single to be pulled from the album was the reggae version of Curtis Mayfields People Get Ready.

In 1999 Marley, now 31 years old, produced his tenth album, The Spirit of Music. Picking up where Fallen is Babylon left off, Marley and his siblings fully returned to their fathers reggae roots. Covering two of their fathers songs, All Day All Night and High Tide or Low Tide, the group filled out the album with pure reggae-driven songs that emphasized faith, love, and harmony. Tracks include Keep My Faith, We are One, Beautiful Day, Wont Let You Down, and Jah Will Be Done. However, despite putting out an album referred to by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates in All Music Guide as a must-have for even casual reggae fans, The Spirit of Music did not fare well in stores.

Released Solo Album

Despite having left Virgin Records for Elektra in hopes of boosting sales, Marley and the Melody Makers continued to experience declining popularity throughout the 1990s. By 2000 Marley was showing signs of frustration with the music world and was looking for new venues for his creative energies. The music is there, the message is there, he told the Los Angeles Sentinel. My father say it, me say it; how much more can I say? Although Elektra released Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1, a compilation of the groups greatest hits, Marley was clearly unhappy with the support he was receiving from the record company. He publicly blamed the record business for pushing flash-in-the-pan artists who had instant fan appeal but no substance to their work, while abandoning artists and groups such as himself and the Melody Makers.

In 2003 Marley released his first single album, Dragonfly. This album shelved traditional reggae to depend much more heavily on rock and world-music themes. Although the songs were written in Jamaica, Marley recorded the album in California and Florida, with guest appearances by Flea and John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chris Kilmore and Michael Einziger from Incubus. After 18 years with the Melody Makers, Marleys crossover to become a solo artist garnered widespread media attention; however, the 34-year-old Marley has insisted that the Melody Makers are not defunct, but rather on a break while each member pursues individual interests and projects. No timetable has been set for the groups return to the studio.

With the cut True to Myself receiving significant radio air play, Marley is taking advantage of his increasing exposure in order to step out in new directions. He served as narrator for the film Life and Debt, a documentary that examines the social and economic problems of Jamaica, in which he argues that the countrys excessive debt load dims any hope for significant recovery. Marley has also worked with the familys Jamaican record label, Ghetto Youths United, producing many of the studios artists. In 2003 he became involved with Disneys animated feature Sharkslayer, due in theaters in 2004. In this underwater mob film, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the voices of Robert DeNiro, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, and Rene Zellwegger, Marley lends his thick Jamaican accent to the character of good tough guy, alongside cohort Doug E. Doug. Marley has also confirmed rumors that in the future he may star in a stage production about his fathers life.

Selected discography

Play the Game Right (with the Melody Makers), Capitol, 1985.

Hey World! (with the Melody Makers), EMI, 1986.

Conscious Party (with the Melody Makers), Virgin, 1989.

One Bright Day (with the Melody Makers), Virgin, 1989.

Jahmekya (with the Melody Makers), Virgin America, 1991.

Joy and Blues (with the Melody Makers), Virgin, 1993.

Free Like We Want 2 Be (with the Melody Makers), Elektra, 1995.

Fallen Is Babylon (with the Melody Makers), Elektra, 1997.

The Spirit of Music (with the Melody Makers), Elektra/Asylum, 1999.

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1 (with the Melody Makers), Elektra, 2000.

Dragonfly (solo album), Private Music, 2003.

Sources

Books

The Complete Marquis Whos Who, Marquis Whos Who, 2003.

Contemporary Musicians, Vol. 3, Gale, 1990.

Periodicals

Billboard, June 1, 1991, p. 32; June 3, 1995, p. 9; May 10, 2003, p. 41.

Caribbean Today, May 31 2003, p. 16.

Entertainment Weekly, July 21, 1995, p. 65.

Essence, May 2003, p. 128.

Guitar Player, January 2000, p. 25.

Institutional Investor, May 2002, p. 8.

Interview, January 1995, p. 88.

Los Angeles Sentinel, July 19, 2000, p. B6.

Michigan Chronicle, March 12, 1996, p. 1-D.

People Weekly, August 23, 1999, p. 45; May 5, 2003, p. 43.

Sacramento Observer, June 30, 1993, p. E9.

Time, July 19, 1999, p. 81.

Washington Post, June 6, 2003, p. WE08.

On-line

Son of a Bob, Pulse Weekly, www.pulseweekly.com (August 4, 2003).

Ziggy Marley, All Music Guide, www.allmusic.com. (August 4, 2003).

Ziggy Marley, Relix, www.relix.com/marley (August 4, 2003).

Ziggy Marley, Rolling Stone, www.rollingstone.com (August 4, 2003).

Ziggy Marley: He Talks to Trees, VH1, www.vhl.com (May 29, 2003).

Ziggy Marley Official Website, www.ziggymarley.com (August 4, 2003).

Kari Bethel

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Marley, Ziggy

Marley, Ziggy

Reggae musician, singer, songwriter

Ziggy Marley is well-known as the son of reggae legend Bob Marley. However, Marley has spent more than 20 years in the music business carving out a name for himself on his own terms. While willing to accept his role as heir to his father's throne as king of reggae, Marley has built on his father's music and life to create a broad eclectic spectrum of reggae sounds that bring in influences from roots rock to hip-hop. Between 1985 and 2000 he released ten albums with three of his siblings, known as the Melody Makers. In 2003, after a decade of falling sales and declining public interest in his music, Marley released his first solo album, Dragonfly, which sparked renewed critical attention and praise, with particular notice given to his hit single, "True to Myself."

David Marley was born on October 17, 1968, in Trenchtown, a poor section of Kingston, Jamaica, the oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Rita (Anderson) Marley. Despite his humble beginnings, Marley's life was soon transformed by his father's growing fame. The senior Marley soon moved his family away from the tough Trenchtown streets, but could not entirely shield them from the violence that permeated all of Jamaica during the 1960s and 1970s. Popular around the world, in Jamaica Bob Marley's status neared mystical proportions. He was revered as a poet and a prophet, which was cause for concern among the island's radical political factions. On December 3, 1976, both Bob and Rita Marley were seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

Banned by his parents from the recording studio during his youngest years, Marley, who was given the nickname Ziggy by his father, grew up playing soccer and fishing in Jamaica. When his father's music business brought the family to the United States, Marley spent several years living and going to elementary school in Wilmington, Delaware. His father taught him to play drums and guitar, and at the age of ten, back in Jamaica, Marley began sitting in on sessions with the Wailers, his father's background group, which included his mother Rita, also an accomplished singer.

Recorded With His Father

When Marley was 11 years old, his father was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. After spending time in the United States attempting to fight the disease, the senior Marley eventually returned to Jamaica to live out his final days. He died in 1981 at the age of 36; Ziggy was 12 years old. In 1979, knowing his death was imminent, Bob called Ziggy into the studio to record a children's song he had written in 1975. "Children Playing in the Streets" was a protest song that dealt with the terrible conditions of poverty under which most of Jamaica's children were raised. Ziggy took lead vocals on the track, with background vocals provided by his older half-sister Sharon (Rita's oldest daughter, adopted by Bob), his younger brother Stephen, and his older sister Cedella. The proceeds from the single were donated to the United Nations Children's Fund. Later Marley recalled the studio session in an interview on the Relix website: "I remember it was like a free-for-all. We were just like children expressing. We weren't singing in key. We just sung. We were free and whatever notes came out it was okay. It wasn't even like a big deal. We just went there to sing and we just sing."

Formed The Melody Makers

The four Marley children, who became known as the Melody Makers, began performing at special functions, including their father's state funeral in 1981. Marley began to write songs for the Melody Makers, and in 1985 the group released their first album, Play the Game Right. The album was formed around the reggae sound of their father and included the single "Children Playing in the Streets." Along with the title track, other cuts included "Reggae is Now," "What a Plot," and "Naah Leggo." Although the album received mostly positive reviews and attention, album sales were not impressive. Just 17 years old at the time of the album's release, Marley was still finding his place in the music world, dealing with both the privileges and problems of being heir apparent to the vacated throne of the king of reggae. Marley's strikingly similar physical appearance to his father fueled comparisons and heightened expectations.

Although Marley's lyrics were socially conscious, and many of his songs were written in the political protest vein of his father's music, the Melody Makers were marketed as another teenage kiddie band. Following up their debut album with the release of Hey World! in 1986 under the EMI America label, the group once again experienced the disappointment of poor marketing by the record label. Although the album once again earned positive reviews, sales lagged. When EMI pressured Marley to abandon his siblings for a solo career, Marley passionately defended the cohesiveness of the Melody Makers and his complete commitment to performing with his family. Rita, who served as her children's manager, abandoned EMI to sign a deal with the Virgin label, which promised to keep the Melody Makers intact.

The Melody Makers' third album was produced by husband-and-wife team Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of the group Talking Heads. Conscious Party, released in 1989, became the Melody Makers' breakthrough album, winning a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Recording. The album featured an eclectic mixture of reggae, roots rock, and pop that combined seemingly opposite influences within single tracks. For example, the cut "New Love" melds a dance beat with both a ballad setting and rootsy undertones. Other tracks included the upbeat "Have You Ever Been to Hell," and "Lee and Molly," a roots rock tune about love gone terribly wrong. The album included contributions from some of Jamaica's best-known reggae artists, along with appearances by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, the Ethiopian band Dalbol, and the cast of the Broadway musical Sarafina! For Marley, Conscious Party became the proving ground for his own talent and charisma. Previously listened to primarily as Bob Marley's son, Conscious Party gave Ziggy a voice all his own.

For the Record . . .

Born David Marley on October 17, 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica; son of Robert Nesta (Bob) and Al pharita Constantia (Anderson) Marley

Recorded first song with father Bob Marley, "Children Playing in the Streets," 1979; founded the Melody Makers with his siblings, c. 1979; with the Melody Makers, released Play the Game Right, 1985; released albums with the Melody Makers, 1980-90s; released solo debut, Dragonfly, 2003; voice actor, Shark Tale, 2004.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Reggae Recording for Conscious Party (with the Melody Makers), 1988; Grammy Award, Best Reggae Recording for One Bright Day (with the Melody Makers), 1989; Grammy Award, Best Reggae Album for Fallen is Babylon (with the Melody Makers), 1997.

Addresses: Management Bob Marley Music Inc., 632 Broadway, Ste. 901, New York, NY 10010. Website Ziggy Marley Official Website: http://www.ziggymarley.com.

Matured as Songwriter

The Melody Makers released three more albums on the Virgin label: One Bright Day, Jahmekya, and Joy and Blue. One Bright Day followed closely on the heels of Conscious Party in 1989. As with most of the Melody Makers' albums, Marley was the featured songwriter. He continued to mature as a songwriter, and One Bright Day features songs that are uplifting and optimistic without edging over into the preachy and pretentious. According to Jose F. Promis, who reviewed the album for All Music Guide, "There is not a single dud on this thoroughly engaging set, which helped cement Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers as first-rate artists in their own right." Conscious Party and One Bright Day popularized Marley and the Melody Makers' reggae tunes among the urban crowds in both New York and California.

In the decade that followed Bob Marley's death, Jamaican music turned from reggae to dancehall music, which became very popular among younger Jamaicans. Released in 1991, Jahmekya ventured in new directions that reached out to the new hip-hop element with its digitized beats, while continuing to incorporate meaningful lyrics. Stephen, the youngest member of the Melody Makers, took a stronger lead on Jahmekya, authoring or co-authoring a number of the tracks. Although Marley himself was beginning to lean toward the more mature sounds of the urban rock scene in the United States, he fully supported the new directions explored by the group on Jahmekya. According to Billboard, Marley said, "I wanted to change everything with this album. I just wanted it to be different. When we were recording, I would say, 'That sounds too much like me, let's try something new.' I wanted to ... stir it up." The album was subsequently nominated for a Grammy Award.

Joy and Blue, released in 1993 when Marley was 25 years old, once again took the group in new directions, dominated by more soulful and personal lyrics. The Melody Makers stepped away from the influence of the Jamaican dancehalls and softened their approach to their roots rock past, bringing to life some of their best lyrics to date. "Mama" is a tribute to Rita Marley, who continued to serve as her children's manager and occasional background vocalist, and the group's soulful cover of "There She Goes" honors their legendary father. Despite slower sales than previous releases, Joy and Blue once again proved the eclectic appeal of the Melody Makers and their ability to alter their music as they matured.

Returned to Roots

Disturbed by the slow sales of their previous two albums and unhappy with the publicity efforts of Virgin, in 1995 the Melody Makers switched to the Elektra label to release their seventh album. Free Like We Want 2 B looked back to the reggae-dominated beats of Conscious Party and One Bright Day. The title track "Free Like We Want 2 B" is something of a rebellious song, at least indirectly aimed at shrugging off years of being compared to their father. When asked by the Michigan Chronicle yet one more time about living in his father's shadow, Marley responded: "The thing is that it is not my intention to come out of any shadow. My intention is only to make music.... I don't know what they [the public] expect of me. A lot of people expect not what they are getting. The song 'Free Like We Want 2 B' is about becoming a slave to no one."

The album, which introduced small changes in the way of style, provided some sharper-edged political songs, more in line with the protest songs of their father. "Hand to Mouth" addressed the exploitation of the Jamaican worker and the existence of many hungry children in Jamaica. "G7," another politically loaded song, focuses on the exploitation by the seven major world powers who play god and king to the rest of the world.

Marley and the Melody Makers released three more albums under the Elektra label: Fallen is Babylon, The Spirit of Music, and Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1. Experiencing declining popularity during the 1990s after peaking in the late 1980s, the Melody Makers were rewarded in 1997 with a Grammy Award for Fallen is Babylon. Once again incorporating elements of roots rock, reggae, hip-hop, blues, and even rap, the Melody Makers offered something for everyone on Fallen is Babylon. The most popular single to be pulled from the album was the reggae version of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready."

In 1999 Marley, now 31 years old, produced his tenth album, The Spirit of Music. Picking up where Fallen is Babylon left off, Marley and his siblings fully returned to their father's reggae roots. Covering two of their father's songs, "All Day All Night" and "High Tide or Low Tide," the group filled out the album with pure reggae-driven songs that emphasized faith, love, and harmony. Tracks include "Keep My Faith," "We are One," "Beautiful Day," "Won't Let You Down," and "Jah Will Be Done." However, despite putting out an album referred to by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates in All Music Guide as a "must-have for even casual reggae fans," The Spirit of Music did not fare well in stores.

Released Solo Album

Despite having left Virgin Records for Elektra in hopes of boosting sales, Marley and the Melody Makers continued to experience declining popularity throughout the 1990s. By 2000 Marley was showing signs of frustration with the music world and was looking for new venues for his creative energies. "The music is there, the message is there," he told the Los Angeles Sentinel. "My father say it, me say it; how much more can I say?" Although Elektra released Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1, a compilation of the group's greatest hits, Marley was clearly unhappy with the support he was receiving from the record company. He publicly blamed the record business for pushing flash-in-the-pan artists who had instant fan appeal but no substance to their work, while abandoning artists and groups such as himself and the Melody Makers.

In 2003 Marley released his first single album, Dragonfly. This album shelved traditional reggae to depend much more heavily on rock and world-music themes. Although the songs were written in Jamaica, Marley recorded the album in California and Florida, with guest appearances by Flea and John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Chris Kilmore and Michael Einziger from Incubus. After 18 years with the Melody Makers, Marley's crossover to become a solo artist garnered widespread media attention; however, the 34-year-old Marley has insisted that the Melody Makers are not defunct, but rather on a break while each member pursues individual interests and projects. No timetable has been set for the group's return to the studio.

With the cut "True to Myself" receiving significant radio air play, Marley took advantage of his increasing exposure in order to step out in new directions. He served as narrator for the film Life and Debt, a documentary that examines the social and economic problems of Jamaica, in which he argues that the country's excessive debt load dims any hope for significant recovery. Marley has also worked with the family's Jamaican record label, Ghetto Youths United, producing many of the studio's artists. In 2003 he became involved with DreamWork's animated feature Shark Tale, due in theaters in 2004. In this underwater mob film, starring the voices of Robert DeNiro, Angelina Jolie, Will Smith, and Renée Zellweger, Marley lends his thick Jamaican accent to the character of "Ernie," alongside cohort Doug E. Doug as "Bernie." Marley has also confirmed rumors that in the future he may star in a stage production about his father's life.

Selected discography

With the Melody Makers

Play the Game Right, Capitol, 1985.

Hey World!, EMI, 1986.

Conscious Party, Virgin, 1989.

One Bright Day, Virgin, 1989.

Jahmekya, Virgin, 1991.

Joy and Blues, Virgin, 1993.

Free Like We Want 2 Be, Elektra, 1995.

Fallen Is Babylon, Elektra, 1997.

The Spirit of Music, Elektra/Asylum, 1999.

Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1, Elektra, 2000.

Solo

Dragonfly, Private Music, 2003.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 1, 1991, p. 32; June 3, 1995, p. 9; May 10, 2003, p. 41.

Caribbean Today, May 31, 2003, p. 16.

Entertainment Weekly, July 21, 1995, p. 65.

Essence, May 2003, p. 128.

Guitar Player, January 2000, p. 25.

Institutional Investor, May 2002, p. 8.

Interview, January 1995, p. 88.

Los Angeles Sentinel, July 19, 2000, p. B6.

Michigan Chronicle, March 12, 1996, p. 1-D.

People Weekly, August 23, 1999, p. 45; May 5, 2003, p. 43.

Sacramento Observer, June 30, 1993, p. E9.

Time, July 19, 1999, p. 81.

Washington Post, June 6, 2003, p. WE08.

Online

"Son of a Bob," Pulse Weekly, http://www.pulseweekly.com (August 4, 2003).

"Ziggy Marley," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (August 4, 2003).

"Ziggy Marley," Relix, http://www.relix.com/marley (August 4, 2003).

"Ziggy Marley," RollingStone.com, http://www.rollingstone.com (August 4, 2003).

"Ziggy Marley: He Talks to Trees," VH1, http://www.vh1.com (May 29, 2003).

Ziggy Marley Official Website, http://www.ziggymarley.com (August 4, 2003).

Kari Bethel

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
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"Marley, Ziggy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Marley, Ziggy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/marley-ziggy

"Marley, Ziggy." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/marley-ziggy

Marley, Ziggy

ZIGGY MARLEY

Born: David Marley; Kingston, Jamaica, 17 October 1968

Genre: World

Best-selling album since 1990: The Best of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers (19881993) (1990)

Hit songs since 1990: "All Love and Live," "Power to Move Ya," "People Get Ready"


David "Ziggy" Marley is the oldest son of reggae superstar and activist Bob Marley, the man who first brought Jamaica's reggae music to international attention and popularity. Because of Bob's early death and his son's close physical and vocal resemblance, Ziggy came to be seen as successor to his father's larger-than-life legacy.

Unlike his father, who grew up in the stench and danger of a Kingston ghetto, Marley grew up in privilege as the son of a man who was already a Jamaican institution. Yet Marley was in the house the night in 1975 that his parents were wounded by gunfire in an assassination attempt, and he saw several of his father's associates end up as victims of Jamaica's political violence.

More pleasant childhood memories include learning how to play guitar and drums from his legendary father, performing with him onstage, and accompanying him on road trips, including a journey to Zimbabwe to help fight racism there. Nicknamed "Ziggy" after the David Bowie album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders (1972), Marley, along with his siblings Stephen, Cedella, and Sharon, even recorded "Children in the Streets" (1979) with Bob Marley and the Wailers when he was ten years old. The song was a reworking of "Children in the Ghetto" (1975); the profits went to the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund. When young Marley saw a cover story on his father in Melody Maker magazine, he assumed that the moniker was a description of his father rather than the publication, and the children's own group came to be known as the Melody Makers.

Although Bob Marley did not want his children to have to deal with the pressures of the music business, they did perform at family functions, including their father's own state funeral after his death from cancer at the age of thirty-six in 1981. Their debut album, Play the Game Right (1985), and its follow-up, Hey, World! (1986), received little promotion or airplay, and when the label, EMI, wanted Marley to go solo, the Melody Makers switched labels rather than break up the family act. Conscious Party (1988) was produced by husband-and-wife team Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and included guest performers Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, the Ethiopian band Dalbol, and the cast of the Broadway musical Sarafina! The clever kaleidoscope of styles and Marley's socially conscious yet tuneful songwriting ability spun off the hit singles "Tumbling Down" and "Tomorrow People." The album One Bright Day (1989) proved to be a successful follow-up.

Although Melody Maker records were never as popular in the 1990s as they had been in the late 1980s, the albums remained interesting, innovative, and energetic and saw the group mature and continue to cross-fertilize a wide variety of styles that turned many Bob Marley fans and hard-core reggae lovers against them. Drenched in the same Rastafarian faith that nourished the spirituality of his father, Marley's song lyrics are often politically motivated, dealing with themes of freedom and injustice.

In 1996 more than 300,000 people crowded into New York's Central Park to hear Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers and other Marley family members pay tribute to Bob Marley. After two decades as the leader of the three-time Grammy Awardwinning Melody Makers, Marley released his adventuresome debut solo album, Dragonfly, (2003), to considerable critical acclaim but also to the virtual astonishment of his fan base. Not a reggae album as such, the raw power of Dragonfly allowed Marley the artistic freedom he obviously had been craving.

Marley has both benefited by and been damned for his ancestry. Those who see and hear his late father in his music may be drawn to him at first, while those who listen more closely attack him for not staying true to his father's musical ideals. The criticism is a familiar oneBob Marley was initially attacked by purists when he began adding elements of British and American rock and pop to the reggae that he performed.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Dragonfly (Private Music/RCA, 2003). With Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers: Conscious Party (Virgin, 1988); One Bright Day (Virgin, 1989); Time Has Come: The Best of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers (Capital re-release, 1990); Jahmekya (Virgin, 1991); Joy and Blues (Virgin, 1993); Free Like We Want 2 B (Elektra/Asylum, 1995); The Marley Family Album (Heartbeat, 1995); Fallen Is Babylon (Elektra/Asylum, 1997); Marley Magic: Live in Central Park at Summerstage (Heartbeat/Tuff Gong, 1997); Arthur and Friends (Rounder, 1998); Spirit of Music (Elektra/Asylum, 1999); Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1 (Elektra/Asylum, 2000).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

G. Hausman (ed.), The Kebra Negast: The Lost Bible of Rastafarian Wisdom and Faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica, introduction by Z. Marley (New York, 1997).

WEBSITES:

www.ziggymarley.com; www.melodymakers.com.

dennis polkow

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"Marley, Ziggy." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Marley, Ziggy." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/marley-ziggy

Marley, Ziggy

Ziggy Marley

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Ziggy Marley has barely entered his twenties, but he has already been praised as one of the most important figures in reggae music today, as well as potentially one of the biggest international stars of the 1990s. His musical precociousness is hardly surprising, as he is the son of two of Jamaicas leading musicians, Bob and Rita Marley. That background does present certain problems, howeversuch as creating his own identity and enduring continual comparisons to his father.

It was Bob Marley who familiarized the world with reggae music and the Rastafarian faith; his early death was deeply mourned by the many people from all races and religions who regarded him as a prophet. His death plunged the Jamaican music scene into a malaise that persists today. Ziggy was only twelve when his father died, but even then the resemblance between the two was uncanny. Gregory Stephens observed in Whole Earth Review that Ziggy is like a reflection of his father Bob, a young echo. As time goes on it is almost scary how this reflection seems to grow more and more like the original, in spirit if not always in style. And since the younger Marley has continued with the musical career on which his father launched him at the age of ten, he is now the one who many people hope will be reggae musics redeemer, according to Rolling Stone contributor Anthony DeCurtis.

Ziggy has in fact been groomed for the role of Bob Marleys successor from an early age, stated Stephens. As Marleys eldest son, he was widely seen as heir to the heritage, and he was given moorings for the journey by a mixture of strict but worldly Rastas and Jesuits. This privileged upbringing, which included occasional world travel and onstage appearances with the Wailers, was in sharp contrast to Bob Marleys youth. He grew up fending for himself in Kingstons ghettoes and earned a reputation as Tuff Gong the street fighter long before he was known as a singer. By the time his children were born, however, he was Jamaicas favorite musician. He had the means to protect his family and was eager to do so. Yet even Ziggy, the so-called Crown Prince of Reggae, could not completely escape Jamaicas pervasive violence: in 1975 both his parents were wounded by gunshots in a politically related attack, and in later years he would see several of his fathers associates slain under similar circumstances.

Bob Marleys desire to shield his children from the seamier side of the music industry led him to ban them from the recording studio when they were very young. Yet as early as 1975 he had written something with them in mind: Children Playing in the Streets, a melodic protest song detailing the desperate conditions

For the Record

Given name, David Marley; born 1968, in Jamaica; son of Robert Nesta (a musician) and Alpharita Constantia (a musician; maiden name, Anderson) Marley. Religion: Rastafarian.

Lead singer and songwriter for the Melody Makers (Sharon Marley, Cedella Marley, Stephen Marley), 1979.

Awards: Grammy nomination, 1985.

Addresses: Home Kingston, Jamaica.

under which most of Jamaicas children live. In 1979, aware of the cancer that would soon take his life, he personally brought Ziggy into the studio to record the song, perhaps as a way of handing down his musical legacy. Backing vocals were provided by Sharon Marley (Ritas oldest daughter, whom Bob had adopted) and two of the couples other children, Cedella and Stephen. All proceeds from the sale of the single were donated to the United Nations Childrens Fund.

For several years the family quartet, known as the Melody Makers, performed mainly on special occasions, such as Bob Marleys state funeral in 1981. Ziggy had begun to write original material for the group, however. From the start, his lyrics reflected his unusual upbringing and serious outlook. Stephens declared, The images that have come out of this man-childs imagination remind me of the paintings done by the children of Guatemala and El Salvador. They are all images of a world at war. In 1985 the Melody Makers released their first album, Play the Game Right, followed in 1986 by Hey World! Neither was particularly successful; in spite of the social consciousness and political commentary evident in Ziggy Marleys lyrics, the Melody Makers young voices led many in the music industry to dismiss them as just another kiddie group. Jordan Harris, formerly an executive with A & M Records, attributes the lackluster sales of Play the Game Right and Hey World! to poor handling by record company EMI America. He recalled in Rolling Stone that he was terribly disappointed when A & M lost the bid for the Melody Makers contract to EMI: What bothered me most is not that I wasnt able to sign the band thenbut that the people that signed them I dont think understood what they had. I think they thought they were signing Musical Youth or some lightweight pop-type thing.

Rita Marley was of a similar mind. Besides failing to provide adequate promotion for the Melody Makers, EMI was pushing Ziggy to leave his brothers and sisters behind for a solo career. Ziggy emphatically rejected this idea. He told DeCurtis: Blood ticker than water.I am not a youth who is on any trip to become a big star. You come to know how important family is around you. Ive been with my family singing from 1979 until this day, and now you walk up to me and say I must leave them alone and come to myself? What purpose would that serve? Me wouldnt feel good about that, and then the music wouldnt feel good about that either. Accordingly, Rita took her children to Virgin Records, which was committed to keeping the Melody Makers intact. Jordan Harris, who had since moved from A & M to Virgin, was elated. He expressed the utmost confidence in the Melody Makers future: I really think this sound and this music could be the music of the Nineties. Three years, five years from now, Ziggy Marley could be one of the most important musicians in the world.

Alex Sadkin was scheduled to produce the Melody Makers first album for Virgin, but he was killed in an automobile accident near Kingston before the project got underway. Production was turned over to Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, the husband-and-wife team from the group Talking Heads. They were familiar with Sadkins approach, as he had worked on the Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues album, and they had worked with reggae artists before on their Tom Tom Club recordings. Under their direction, much of the recording for the Melody Makers third album, Conscious Party, was done in New York. Deeply religious and heavily influenced by daily Bible readings, Ziggy shocked many New Yorkers at casual jam sessions with his impromptu lyrics warning against drinking and premarital sex. When finished, Conscious Party was an example of cultural cross-fertilization. It included some of Jamaicas most distinguished reggae artists as well as guest contributions from Keith Richards, Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, the Ethiopian band Dalbol, and the cast of the Broadway musical Sarafina!

Weymouth and Frantz strove to augment rather than to change the Melody Makers sound, delivering what Rolling Stones David Wild called perhaps the best-sounding reggae album youll ever hearboth pleasantly high-tech and appropriately rootsy. Audio reviewer Michael Terson also praised the producers for creating an ingenious sound that delivers strength on the reggae backbeat and on the rock downbeat, but noted that they wisely stayed pretty much out of the way of Ziggy, his siblings, and the band.In the end, it all comes down to Ziggy Marley. Here, his charisma blooms. He sounds eerily like Father Bob, but Ziggys songs are so strong that they blunt any sound-alike criticism.Marley is about to become a huge international star. Hes got it all, and so does Conscious Party. Wild also emphasized that Conscious Party represented a personal triumph for the young songwriter: Theres one hell of a shadow hanging over Ziggy Marley, and it is testament to the beauty and strength of Conscious Party that instead of being an object of morbid fascination the album is one of the brightest, most life-affirming records in recent history.

The enthusiastic critical reception of Conscious Party marked a turning point for Ziggy Marley, when he began to be accepted on his own terms. Pondering the musicians future in Whole Earth Review, Stephens noted that, thus far, Marleys lyrics have consisted mainly of strident calls to action and bald slogans. They are catchy, but limited by the abstracted idealism of a youth who has an unusually broad, but also somewhat insular, view of the world. It will be interesting to hear what Ziggy comes up with when he comes home from the battlefield to write about love and other shades of gray. He concluded that Marley was bound to become even more popular, stating: Anyone who cant see the economic as well as artistic potential ofZiggy Marley hasnt yet understood the Messianic fervor that runs among Third World peoples, especially in Jamaica. Jamaican music has been able to infect nerve centers around the worldparticularly New York and Londonspreading a less severe case of Messianic expectations among American Dream refugees and entertainment consumers. So there is a potentially immense audience for a young, sexy, fashionable, implicitly spiritual Third World superstar.

Marley is also a key figure in a fierce struggle currently taking place in Jamaicas musical world. Since Bob Marleys death, traditional reggae, with its weighty sociopolitical and religious messages, has been largely supplanted by a bawdy, rap-related music known as Dance Hall. Traditionalists hope that Ziggy Marley can attract Jamaicas youth to the spiritual values of Rastafarianism, much as his father did in the 1970s. Jimmy Guterman remarked in Rolling Stone that as children of the late Bob Marley, David Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers practically carry the mantle of reggae themselves. That is a responsibility which they are well qualified to handle, however, as the writer asserts in his review of their latest release, One Bright Day: This is a formidable band even if you toss aside ideas about tradition. Ziggy sounds as much like his father as Julian Lennon sounds like John, but Ziggy has found a way to use that as a springboard: He accepts the familiarity and tries to add something new. At his best, Ziggy displays a voice that is his alone. Asked by DeCurtis if he found the endless comparisons to his father to be an oppressive burden, Marley replied stoically, I am myselfand I have been myself every time. I never try to run from the truth.Me and my father have something in common which you cant hide and you cant run from, you know?

Selected discography

Singles

Children Playing in the Streets, Tuff Gong, 1979.

Sugar Pie, Tuff Gong, 1980.

Trodding, Tuff Gong, 1980.

What a Plot (two-song EP), Shanachie, 1983.

LPs

Play the Game Right, EMI America, 1985.

Hey World!, EMI America, 1986.

Conscious Party, Virgin, 1988.

The Best of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, EMI America, 1988.

One Bright Day, Virgin, 1989.

Sources

Books

White, Timothy, Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, Holt, 1983.

Periodicals

Audio, August 1988.

down beat, August 1989.

Macleans, October 27, 1986.

New Statesman and Society, July 28, 1989.

Newsweek, May 30, 1988.

People, March 28, 1988.

Rolling Stone, March 24, 1988; May 7, 1988; September 7, 1989.

Whole Earth Review, summer 1988.

Joan Goldsworthy

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"Marley, Ziggy." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/marley-ziggy-0