Robert Nesta Marley, OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter who became an international musical and cultural icon, blending mostly reggae, ska, and rocksteady in his compositions. He started in 1963 with the group the Wailers and forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that became popular with audiences worldwide. The Wailers released some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee “Scratch” Perry.
The Wailers disbanded in 1974, and Marley pursued a solo career upon his relocation to England which culminated in the release of the album Exodus in 1977, which established his worldwide reputation and elevated his status as one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks and included the UK hit singles “Exodus“, “Waiting in Vain“, “Jamming“, and “One Love“. In 1978, he released the album Kaya, which included the hit singles “Is This Love” and “Satisfy My Soul”. The greatest hits album Legend was released in 1984, three years after Marley died. It subsequently became the best-selling reggae album of all time.
Marley died on 11 May 1981 in Miami at age 36 of melanoma. He was a committed Rastafari who infused his music with a sense of spirituality.:242 He is credited with popularising reggae music around the world and served as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. He has become a global symbol and has inspired a significant merchandise industry.