So there I was eating chili at a school fundraiser yesterday when my buddy Owen informed me that it was the 35th anniversary of an assassination attempt on Bob Marley.
I am a big fan of Marley (or so I thought) but had no idea that he had ever been shot. But on December 3, 1976, his Kingston home was invaded by some thugs who shot him in the arm and chest, shot his wife Rita in the head, and shot his manager Don Taylor too.
Though the gunmen were never found, it's believed they attempted to take Marley's life to prevent him from playing the Smile Jamaica concert, a show he'd organized to help calm the political unrest in Jamaica at the time, but which had been co-opted by the ruling party.
Bob, Rita and Don survived and amazingly, Bob played the Smile Jamaica concert a couple days later, turning a scheduled one-song appearance into a 90-minute shamanistic ritual, which turned him from a pop star into a living legend.
When Bob was asked why he decided to play the show, he replied, "The people who are trying to make the world a worse place are not taking a day off. Why should I?" Well put.
Here's a fascinating documentary about the assassination attempt and concert from back in the day.
The legend of Bob Marley goes way beyond Legend. A great place to start is his 1975 Live! album with the Wailers, which you can get on iTunes here for a mere $7.99.