Scored a Jamaican hit single, "Simmer Down," in 1964 with a band featuring Neville "Bunny" Livingston and Peter Tosh. The group went by the names of the Teenagers and the Wailing Rudeboys, then, finally, the Wailers. Marley had become lead vocalist by the time they had their first hit.
After a stint working in a factory in Delaware, he returned to Jamaica in 1966 to pick up his reggae-music career and to begin devoting himself to the Rastafarian faith.
Already successful in the Caribbean, he visited London in 1972 and, along with his band, promoted a single, "Reggae on Broadway," for CBS. His big break, though, came when he went to Island Records and saw legendary record mogul Chris Blackwell, who advanced the money to record what would become 1973's groundbreaking, crossover classic, Catch a Fire.
Had another mainstream breakthrough in 1974 with Eric Clapton's hit remake of "I Shot the Sheriff."
His band's early U.S. performances came as opening act for the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Sly and the Family Stone.
Survived an assassination attempt by gunmen in 1976.
Received a Peace Medal from the United Nations in 1978 for helping to unite warring factions in Jamaica.
Received Jamaica's highest honor, the National Order of Merit, for his contribution to his country's culture, shortly before his death in 1981.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.