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Bob Marley: The Untold Story

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

by Chris Salewicz

Rating: *****

There did not seem too many bios on Marley so this was the only option and to be honest, having read some reviews, I did not expect a lot. Quite a number of reviews gave me the impression it was superficial and a cobbled together fanzine take on him. In my opinion, that could not be more wrong. The sheer breadth and scale of the research that Salewicz must have undertaken and skilfully weaves together is quite something. You are fully integrated into the Jamaican music scene, especially in Marley's early days and in his life. You really do feel as if though you are walking beside him. I found myself feeling utterly immersed in the culture, his culture for some time after putting the book down between readings. Yes, Salewicz does skate over some slightly unedifying facets of Marley's personality and is a bit too much of a fan at times when he should be a little more impartial but, it never impinges or becomes cringe-worthy, and clearly explains how he managed to produce such a definitive account of Marley. The only area I would have liked more on (but maybe there isn't), is Marley's relationships with his children, of which there are many. They are only really mentioned in passing and this is at odds with the ethos of the man. For some, the detail of the Jamaican music scene might be a bit dense, especially as all protagonists seem to have about five different monikers and Salewicz does alternate between nicknames for musicians so you can forget who some of the minor players are. But, if you are looking for a biography to take you on a fully immersive journey of Marley's life, culture and music then you've found it in this book.

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