A memoir by the woman who knew Bob Marley best--his wife, Rita.
Rita Marley grew up in the slums of Trench Town, Jamaica. Abandoned by her mother at a very young age, she was raised by her aunt. Music ran in Rita's family, and even as a child her talent for singing was pronounced. By the age of 18, Rita was an unwed mother, and it was then that she met Bob Marley at a recording studio in Trench Town. Bob and Rita became close friends, fell in love, and soon, she and her girlfriends were singing backup for the Wailers. At the ages of 21 and 19, Bob and Rita were married.
The rest is history: Bob Marley and the Wailers set Jamaica and the world on fire. But while Rita displayed blazing courage, joy, and an indisputable devotion to her husband, life with Bob was not easy. There were his liaisons with other women--some of which produced children and were conducted under Rita's roof. The press repeatedly reported that Bob was unmarried to preserve his "image." But Rita kept her self-respect, and when Bob succumbed to cancer in 1981, she was at his side. In the years that followed, she became a force in her own right -- as the Bob Marley Foundation's spokesperson and a performer in her reggae group, the I-Three.
Written with author Hettie Jones, No Woman No Cry is a no-holds-barred account of life with one of the most famous musicians of all time. In No Woman No Cry, readers will learn about the never-before-told details of Bob Marley's life, including:
How Rita practiced subsistence farming when first married to Bob to have food for her family. How Rita rode her bicycle into town with copies of Bob's latest songs to sell. How Rita worked as a housekeeper in Delaware to help support her family when her children were young. Why Rita chose to befriend some of the women with whom Bob had affairs and to give them advice on rearing the children they had with Bob. The story of the attack on Bob which almost killed the two of them. Bob's last wishes, dreams, and hopes, as well as the details of his death, such as who came to the funeral (and who didn't).
Fans of reggae legend Bob Marley will welcome this no-nonsense biography from his wife, Rita, who was also his band member, business partner, musical collaborator and the only person to have witnessed firsthand his development from local Jamaican singer to international superstar. Aided by poet and memoirist Jones (How I Became Hettie Jones), Rita presents the powerful details of her early life story: her youth in the Trench Town ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, living with "thugs, thieves, killers, prostitutes, gamblers"; her encounters with the early "Wailing Wailers"; and how her relationship with Bob cemented as they spent days recording in Dodd's Studio One. Throughout, this memoir emphasizes Rita's own substantial musicianship, first as part of Bob Marley's backing vocalists, the I-Threes, and later her own career after his death "carrying on a legacy that means so much to the world." Those subjects provide a positive balance to unpleasant experiences such as dealing with Bob Marley's various mistresses during his life and defending herself from accusations after his death that she was financially abusing his estate. This is far from a definitive look at Bob Marley, and for a comprehensive, critical look at the singer it would be hard to compete with Timothy White's definitive Catch a Fire. But this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of Marley and Jamaican music in general.