Bob Marley would have been 69 today. Some are taken from us much too soon.
I spotted this mural in Flint, Michigan, back in 2002, one of hundreds of tributes to the reggae giant that I’ve come across in dozens of countries around the world. More than 30 years after his death, he remains one of the most recognized and respected faces on the planet. Indeed, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a corner of the world where Bob Marley as icon doesn’t appear.
Whenever I see a Marley mural or his picture on a mototaxi, car or bus, I’m reminded of what Carlos Jones, a Cleveland musician and songwriter, told me in an interview more than a decade ago, soon after he recorded ‘Torchbearer’, his own tribute to Marley.
“Each of us that were touched by (Marley) in our lifetimes, we carry a part of that too,” Carlos said. “Each of us in our own way, whether we’re musicians or not, we can carry that little bit of light, or truth, forward. Whatever it was that it made us feel, and try to pass it on.
“Marley was a torchbearer. When he passed on, he passed the torch. But not just to one person –to everyone within earshot. To carry a little candle flame and help illuminate the darkness.”