Chronological birth-to-death sketch of Jamaica’s premier musician.
St. Kitts-based journalist Steckles, one of the reggae icon’s more devout devotees, has spent countless moons cataloging all forms of Bob Marley minutiae. From an overview of Wailers’ producer Lee “Scratch” Perry and his notorious royalty rip-offs to a reexamination of the night Marley took a bullet in the arm from an unknown assassin, Steckles squeezes in all the necessary info for Zion Lion neophytes without revealing anything immensely fresh. Even an epilogue about Marley’s legacy is basically a collated update of all the lawsuits levied against the estate. The only reasons for yet another book about Bob Marley seem to be that 1) there’s a movie about him coming out soon, and 2) Steckles really wanted to write about him. Make no mistake, this debut author can turn a phrase. Yet he passed up a great opportunity to look beyond the hype about a stoic “prophet” and tap into Marley’s inner thoughts, motivations and, yes, even his flaws. The volume often reads like a discography, brimming over with excellent trivia. Regrettably, this detailed information is padded every few pages with fanzine-style gushing like calling Marley “one of the smartest human beings on the planet” and stating that he achieved more acclaim than the Beatles and Elvis.
Crosses the line from admiring Marley to uncritical celebrity worship.