PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Song of the Day for September 23: "Get Up, Stand Up" by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh

Bob-Marley_3.jpg

You can’t say Bob Marley didn’t finish on a high note.

Marley played his final concert September 23, 1980, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, two days after collapsing while jogging in Central Park and learning that his melanoma had spread to his brain, lungs and liver.

He would die eight months later.

Marley didn’t invent reggae, but he popularized it.

He first found fame with Peter Tosh and Bunnie Wailer as the Wailers.

As a solo artist, he introduced the music and his Rastafarian culture and religion to the world.

Marley was at the peak of his popularity when he learned he had melanoma on his big toe in 1977.

He refused to have the toe amputated despite pleas from doctors and family members.

His Pittsburgh show sold out quickly and came on the heels of a successful world tour where he played in front of 100,000 people in Milan, Italy.

He played two nights at Madison Square Garden before heading to Pittsburgh. His agent told the promoter Marley might have to cancel because he wasn’t feeling well.

Promoter Rich Engler said Marley looked sickly when he arrived, but Marley said he needed to play because his band needed the money. He ended up playing six songs during his two encores.

Marley and Peter Tosh wrote “Get Up, Stand Up,” in 1973. Marley wrote it after visiting Haiti and seeing the poverty there. He always ended his concerts with the song. He sat on a stool singing it as part of his final encore in Pittsburgh.