Bob Marley Shared Writing Credits For His Songs To Help Poor People In His Neighborhood

On what would have been his 70th birthday, a statue of Bob Marley was unveiled at Trenchtown, Jamaica, the neighborhood where reggae music came to life.

More than 30 years after his death, the local government placed the life-size sculpture of Marley right at the heart of the town where the reggae legend lived since he was 12 years old. The life and work of Marley was also celebrated through a weekend-long series of events and parties, held to drum up interest for the multi-million dollar renovation that is taking place in Culture Yard.

The reggae legend was known for creating awesome music, but most of his friends and family remember him as someone who was generous and caring towards those who were close to him. The songwriter often shares writing credit to his songs to ensure that those he shared the credit with would receive royalty checks. In the obituary that the Independent posted upon Marley’s death, they mentioned how he put the names of those close to him as a way of providing “lasting help to family and close friends.”

Vincent ‘Tata’ Ford, Marley’s friend, was wheelchair-bound after losing his legs from battling with diabetes. Ford became popular within the area after saving another teenager who was drowning, despite his disability. Marley had been close with Ford and was aware that Ford was running a soup kitchen that provides food for the poor and homeless within their town. To keep the soup kitchen running, Marley donated royalties from his hit No Woman, No Cry to Ford, along with some cuts from his Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration albums. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song No. 37 on its list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Giving Ford the co-writing credit allowed Marley to avoid contractual restrictions that were set by producer Danny Sims at Cayman Music. It was disputed that Ford never really contributed anything to the track, leading Sims and Marley’s widow to sue Ford to obtain royalty and ownership rights. On December 28, 2008, Vincent Ford died at age 68 in Jamaica due to complications from diabetes. The court eventually sided with the Marley estate, but this grand gesture that the legendary singer made won’t be forgotten by the people he helped when he was still alive.

[Image via YouTube]