Bob Marley and the Wailers brought ska and Jamaican reggae music to an international audience in the 1960s and ’70s. We remember Marley’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
Bob Marley and the Wailers brought ska and Jamaican reggae music to an international audience in the 1960s and ’70s. Continuing as a solo artist, Marley infused his music with political and philosophical messages that resonated with listeners worldwide. His distinctive vocal style and instrumentation won him fans and cemented his status as a musical legend, while his outspoken political views made him an icon in popular culture. His music, both as a solo artist and with the Wailers, brought Jamaican culture and art to international prominence, making Marley a national hero. Upon his death in 1981, he received a state funeral in his home country, and he remains a beloved figure in the nation’s history. We remember Marley’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.
2020: Jerry Stiller, popular character actor known for “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens,” dies at 92.
2013: Ollie Mitchell, U.S. trumpeter and bandleader who was an original member of Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass Band and a member of the popular session players known as the Wrecking Crew, dies at 86.
2013: Jack Butler, U.S. NFL Hall of Fame cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers who was a four-time All-Pro, dies at 85.
The Pittsburgh native played wide receiver at St. Bonaventure University and was planning on returning to school to get his master’s degree when he received a phone call from Steelers business manager Fran Fogarty in the summer of 1951. To be honest, Butler assumed Fogarty had the wrong number. Read more
2010: Doris Eaton Travis, U.S. dancer and actress who was an acclaimed Ziegfeld Girl, dies at 106.
Interest in the 5-foot-2 centenarian piqued after a 1997 reunion with four other “Ziegfeld Follies” Girls for the reopening of the New Amsterdam Theatre, where she danced about 80 years earlier. “I was the only one who could still dance,” she said then. Read more
2009: Mark Landon, U.S. actor who was the adopted son of “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon, dies at 60.
2008: John Rutsey, Canadian musician who was the original drummer for the band Rush and played on their debut album, dies at 55.
2006: Frankie Thomas, U.S. actor known best for his starring role as Tom Corbett on “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,” dies at 85.
2006: Floyd Patterson, U.S. boxer who was a two-time heavyweight champion of the world, dies at 71.
In 1956, the undersized heavyweight became at 21 the youngest man to win the title with a fifth-round knockout of Archie Moore. But three years later, Patterson was knocked down seven times in the third round in losing the title to Ingemar Johansson at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Patterson returned with a vengeance at the same site in 1960, knocking out Johansson with a tremendous left hook to retake the title. Read more
2004: John Whitehead, U.S. singer-songwriter and one-half of the duo McFadden and Whitehead, who had a hit song in 1979 with “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” dies at 55.
2003: Noel Redding, English bassist known best as a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, dies at 57.
1994: Timothy Carey, U.S. actor who appeared in movies including “East of Eden” and “Beach Blanket Bingo,” dies at 65.
1986: Fritz Pollard, U.S. NFL Hall of Fame player and coach who was one of the first two African-American players in the NFL and the first African-American NFL coach, dies at 92.
1985: Chester Gould, U.S. cartoonist who was known for creating the “Dick Tracy” comic strip, dies at 84.
1981: Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim as a reggae musician, dies at 36.
Hand in hand with reggae came Rastafarianism – Marley’s religion, virtually unknown to much of the world before his fame. Even now, more than three decades after Marley’s first international success, Rastafarianism isn’t well understood outside his native Jamaica. Read more
1979: Lester Flatt, U.S. bluegrass guitarist and mandolin player known best for his band with Earl Scruggs called the Foggy Mountain Boys, who performed the theme song for “The Beverly Hillbillies,” dies at 64.
The Foggy Mountain Boys stayed together for more than two decades. They became bluegrass superstars, some of the most-respected musicians of the genre. And they helped bring bluegrass to the mainstream with one well-known song – “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” aka the theme song to 1960s sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Read more
1973: Lex Barker, U.S. actor known best for playing Tarzan in the 1950s, dies at 54.
1970: Johnny Hodges, U.S. jazz saxophonist known best for his solo work with Duke Ellington‘s band, dies at 63.
1960: John D. Rockefeller Jr., U.S. financier and philanthropist who was a prominent member of the Rockefeller family, dies at 86.