Wake Up & Live - The Life of Bob Marley - reggaerootsreview.com

Bob Marley the Inspiration

Bob Marley’s life has been well documented, in fact I think every form of media has represented Bob’s music and life story. His influence cannot be overstated though, how one man from a small island in the Caribbean became a worldwide figure of inspiration and hope is pretty fascinating. Most of us have pretty average lives, there are up and downs, difficult patches and good times. Humans seem to crave a figure to look up to, an icon that seems to transcend this ordinary life. Whether it’s a sportsman, artist, writer or musician, we all have someone who speaks to us on a higher level. Bob Marley is definitely one of those figures, the poster boy of rebellion and consciousness, an inspiration to millions.

Wake Up & Live - Bob Marley

Benito Gallego

Wake Up and Live, is the latest book to try and capture what makes Bob Marley so special. This time we have it in graphic novel format and this is an ideal medium for capturing his colourful life. The first thing that hits you when you open up the book is the beautiful artwork. Artist Benito Gallego has captured so much of Bob’s personality in his illustrations. In particular, the facial expressions are wonderfully drawn and show his changing attitudes over the years.

Some of the panels you will recognise from real life photos, the one next to this paragraph of Lee Scratch Perry is a familiar one, as well as Haile Selassie leaving the aircraft on his visit to Jamaica. I like the way these scenes anchor the book in history and give it some authenticity.

Jim McCarthy

The words are by Jim McCarthy, who has previous music related graphic novels to his name on the Sex Pistols and Kurt Cobain. As the artwork is so striking and expressive, there is no need to over explain the story with too many words.

The speech bubbles are there to gently guide you through the story. The characters in the book talk like real people using Jamaican patois (with translations for those not so familiar with all the words). I shall leave it to the better informed to make the judgement on how accurate this is!


Overall you get a good potted history of Bob Marley’s life. Events including his early start in the music business, his marriage to Rita, his meeting with Bunny and Peter and his discovery of Rastafari are all covered. But it doesn’t sugar coat things as the attempt on his life, the brutal beating up of Peter Tosh and ultimately Bob’s premature death are all captured in realistic detail. It can’t cover every nuance, there are wordier biographies out there for that. But there is something here for everyone, whether you are new to Bob Marley or know something of his life.

The book is published by Omnibus Press and is out now and available from Amazon and all good bookshops. I would recommend it as a worthy addition to your reggae library.

I have added a video below of my favourite Bob Marley song. What’s yours, leave a comment below if you would like to share it. Bless, Paper lion    

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. No women no cry

    • Thanks Ed, good choice.

      Bob Marley did write some classics and I would also include Satisfy My Soul as my second favourite.


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