Free Bob Marley!
He's been hijacked by stoned suburban teenagers.
Often in Marley, militancy and religion are fused in a way that wouldn't please, say, Pat Robertson. Sometimes, the fusing is literal, as in this line of wordplay on "revolution" and "revelation": "Revelation, reveals the truth, revelation/ It takes a revolution to make a solution." Other times, the relationship between religion and resistance is more ambivalent, and menacing: "Cause I feel like bombing a church/ Now that you know that the preacher is lying."
Bob Marley crossed over because he wanted to be heard.But even when he sounded a peaceful note, there was an edge in his voice. He once told a reporter, "There should be no war between black and white. But until white people listen to black with open ears, there must be—well, suspicion!" As it turns out, Marley had every reason to be suspicious about how he'd be listened to. One love, mon.
Field Maloney, who comes from a hard-cider-making family, is writing a book about wine in America. He likes to drink beer.
Photograph of Bob Marley by Ho/Agence France-Presse. Audio excerpts from The Complete Upsetter Collection: Bob Marley & The Wailers © 2002 Trojan and Exodus (Deluxe Edition) © 2001Island Records. All rights reserved.