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Roots Rock Reggae Legacy: Bob Marley Museum Now Jamaica’s Hottest Tourist Attraction

Bob Marley would have been 77 this February

The late Bob Marley’s 77th birthday was celebrated last Sunday, 6 February with the 6 am blowing of the abeng conch shell at his old home, 56 Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica. The Trenchtown home of the world’s most famous cannabis ambassador is now the Bob Marley Museum, Jamaica’s biggest tourist attraction with over 60 000 visitors a year.



Marley’s birthday was held under the theme Roots 77, inspired by his song Roots, and commemorated with a live reggae concert streamed live from Marley’s Tuff Gong Radio on SiriusXM.  The event was headlined by some of the second and third generation Marleys, including grandsons Skip and Yohan as well as sons Ziggy, Stephen, Ky-Mani, Julian and Damian.


Marley Estate – excluding music catalogue – now worth over US$100 m

Marley’s estate is now worth over US$100 million and is largely under the control of his wheel-chair bound widow Rita and second-oldest child, daughter Cedella.  It includes the Bob Marley Museum and a Kingston recording studio (both, a vinyl and CD pressing plant, record stores and a book division, and an onslaught of family-approved merch: cannabis and body-care products, headphones and other audio gear, coffee, and even a just-launched line of “functional mushrooms” (where they can be legally sold).


A few years after Marley died – at the age of 36 in May 1981, an audit of his estate came up with a mere US$250,000. These days, the family business routinely earns at least $20 million a year.


Cedella Marley told the Daily Mail that were her father still alive, he would probably be growing cannabis and joked that he would be “getting into trouble” over compliance issues.


Cedella Marley


A new live album called “Easy Skanking in Boston ‘78” will also be released this month, according to The Bob Marley Group of Companies, featuring two live shows from Boston’s Music Hall in June 1978.


Calls for Bob Marley to be declared a Jamaican National Hero

In Jamaica where Reggae Month is being hailed, the call is mounting for amplified for Marley to be named a National Hero are also being echoed. Perhaps during the island’s 60th anniversary of independence celebration in August another Marley milestone will manifest.

No new heroes have been added since the 1980s and a committee has been examining nominations for the last three years, with Marley and former Prime Minister Michael Manley among a list of 10 names mentioned.

“It is high time that the government makes him our eighth national hero,” said Errol Campbell, 57, a mechanic, also of Kingston.

“Bob was a reggae genius who has done more for Jamaica than most others by popularizing our music,” he added.

Some committee members are believed to oppose Marley because he smoked marijuana and sometimes disrespected authority as part of his Rastafarian faith which rejects materialism.

An annual “One Love” charity soccer match will be played in Marley’s honour on 18 February 2022, including celebrities such as Olympic sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.


The Bob Marley Museum in its own words:

The Bob Marley Museum is the former home of the reggae legend. Bob’s home is filled with rich memories and treasured mementos, which seek to preserve the life and accomplishment of this great Jamaican and outstanding musician.

Enter the Museum and allow us to envelop you with the sights and sounds of Bob, as you take a guided tour of this Jamaican Heritage Site. Our friendly, charming and knowledgeable guides will escort you through the grounds, which include the main house, exhibition hall, theatre, gift shops and the One Love Café.

All the original rooms have been kept as they were when Bob lived here to ensure authenticity. The displays include a life size 3-dimensional hologram of Bob from the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, his Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, his personal recording studio, his bedroom, favourite clothing, a vast array of gold and platinum records received from all around the world, as well as the costumes of his back-up singers, the I-Threes.

The air-conditioned theatre boasts modern state-of-the-art projection equipment, where live performances of Bob are showcased to each guided tour. The One Love Café serves Marley inspired recipes and juices, and you will find a variety of Bob Marley souvenir items available at the Bob Marley Gift Shop.

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