“One good thing about music, when it hits you feel ok…”
I was riding in a van along the north coast of Jamaica recently when my wife leaned over to me and said, “One person can change the world. One Love.” We were driving past a mural of Bob Marley in Ochos Rios, and I knew she was right.
People all across the world love Bob Marley. Music aficionados, guitar players, singers, dancers, one and all can feel his spirit. I still tear up when I hear “No Woman, No Cry.” I can even sense the feedback that is coming in the live recording that made the song a worldwide anthem.
Marley had the ability to take music and transcend cultures, nations, and religions. The messages in his song speak of his own battles, his people’s struggle for equality, and the way that love conquers all. Did he make a difference? Did he change the world? You bet he did. Some 37 years after his untimely death, and you still his image on shirts and flags everywhere…not just in Jamaica. But, his influence does loom over the island, and I think it looks down and smiles on the visitors that come to see it for themselves. Pilgrims still flock to the area he was born and to his burial site in Nine Mile.
Back in Ochos Rios, I stared for a long minute at a statue of Marley that we found in city park, and then let my gaze wander out to the water and the distant shoreline. I could feel the ocean breeze blowing on my face, and I knew that in some way, Bob Marley was the reason that I and so many others first heard about Jamaica. He brought the culture and the struggle to us. He made it real and showed it through the music. His memory still shapes and influences the world today.
“So, hit me with music, brutalize me with music.”