For the first time ever, a revealing memoir from the woman who knew Bob Marley best — his wife, Rita.
Rita Marley grew up in Trench Town, a slum in Kingston, Jamaica, and was raised by her beloved Aunty. Music ran in their family, and even as a child Rita possessed a talent for singing that was remarked upon. Nevertheless, by the time she was eighteen, she had become an unwed mother, and it seemed as if her musical career was going nowhere. It was then that Rita met Bob Marley, literally on the road in front of her house. Later, after being reintroduced at a local recording studio, they became close friends and fell in love. Soon, Rita was singing backup for the Wailers, Bob’s reggae group. When he was twenty-one and she nineteen, they married.
The rest is history: Bob and the Wailers set all of Jamaica, and eventually the entire world, on fire with their incredible style of reggae music. But while Bob’s star rose and he traveled the world to promote his art, Rita stayed at home trying to feed their growing family. From peddling Bob’s records on the back of her bicycle to living in a shack without electricity and washing his one pair of underwear every night, Rita was the devoted wife. Eventually her burning desire to be in the music world was satisfied as well, and she was recognized for her incredible talents as the lead singer with the I-Three.
Emotionally, though, life was still rough for Rita. Bob conducted liaisons with other women publicly. At his manager’s urging, he allowed the press to report that he was single, to preserve his “image.” Yet throughout it all, Rita managed to preserve her self-respect, even helping some of Bob’s girlfriends to raise their children by him. She also brought up her own children and embarked on an international career as a soloist. Bob and Rita never separated or divorced, and when he became ill with cancer, she did not leave his side until his passing in 1981.
In the years since then, Rita Marley has become a force in her own right. She took on a new role as manager of her children’s singing group, the Melody Makers, which includes her son Ziggy Marley. She travels the world as the Bob Marley Foundation’s spokesperson, as a member of the I-Three, and as a solo performer.
Written with author Hettie Jones, No Woman No Cry is a no-holds-barred account of the life of an incredible woman, married to one of the most well-known and beloved musicians of all time.
“Tart, self-assured, and lasting.” —Kirkus Reviews
“. . . this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of Marley and Jamaican music in general.” —Publishers Weekly
“Rita is a strong woman whose angle on [Bob Marley] is fresh and authoritative.” —Booklist
“Above all, fans will find a simple story of a woman who married a simple man, watched him rise to fame, and bravely endured many tribulations at his side.” —Library Journal
People ask what it’s like when I’m somewhere and suddenly Bob’s voice comes on the radio. But the thing about Bob is so deep, it is as if he’s always with me, there’s always something to remind me. So I don’t wait
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