Jamaica Magazine

Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley by Christopher John Farley

Written by Staff Writer

Contribution: Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley by Christopher John Farley

“Christopher J. Farley has respect for the root of black music and art…Trust me,
Mr. Farley clearly makes one feel the importance of a culture.”

– Chuck D, Public Enemy

“Want to know how Bob Marley made it from nothing to become the strongest presence
in music worldwide? Read Christopher John Farley’s book!”

Perry Henzell, director of The Harder They Come


Kwame Dawes, author of Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius

On May 1, 2006, Amistad/Harper Collins will publish journalist Christopher John
Farley’s new book BEFORE THE LEGEND: THE RISE OF BOB MARLEY, the first major biography
of Bob Marley in more than two decades. For the book, Farley interviewed everyone
who played a significant role in Marley’s life, including Bunny Wailer, Lee
“Scratch” Perry, Rita Marley, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, Chris Blackwell and

Says Farley: “I wanted to show readers a side of Bob they had never seen before. I
wanted to tell them stories about Bob they had never heard before. There have been
some interesting things written about Marley in the past, but this book tells the
definitive story of his early years. My book sets the record straight by talking to the
folks that knew him best–his family and the musicians who played with him.”

Before the Legend contains the first-ever published interviews with some of Marley’s
“white” family members and uncovers fresh information about the reggae great’s
family history including the revelation that Marley’s father, believed to be “white”, was
actually a person of color.

It draws from Peter Tosh’s “Red X” tapes–secret audio recordings made by the reggae
great and Marley bandmate before his death. These excerpts have not been previously
published. “I realized that hell is not down yonder, but right here among men,”
Peter says about the crushing poverty he and Bob faced as youngsters. “But I never fear
the devil.”

Before the Legend features the most detailed look ever at the making of the classic
album “Catch A Fire,” with new interviews with every significant musician who worked
on the album. It draws on unpublished audio interviews of Marley, as well as rare
interviews from the Jamaican press and other sources. The cover features a
never-before published photo of Bob Marley by acclaimed photographer Kate Simon.

About the Author

Christopher John Farley was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Brockport, New
York. He is a 1988 graduate of Harvard University and a former editor of The Harvard
Crimson and The Harvard Lampoon. He has worked as a reporter for USA Today and as a
music critic, writer and editor for Time magazine. He has interviewed many of the
important and interesting musicians of the last half-century, including Bob Dylan,
Prince, U2, Alicia Keys, Joni Mitchell, Aaliyah, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre,
Outkast, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen and
many others. Farley’s much-discussed interview with runaway comedian Dave
Chappelle broke the news that the comic was on a “spiritual retreat” in South Africa.

He is the author of the novel Kingston by Starlight, a fictional retelling of the
true story of Anne Bonny, a woman who dressed as a man and became a pirate in the 18th
century; My Favorite War, a satirical novel about the first Gulf War; co-author of
Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, a book which served as the companion volume to
the PBS series, and Aaliyah: More Than a Woman, a national bestseller. He is currently
an editor at The Wall Street Journal.

About the author

Staff Writer