Before Rita Marley became known internationally as the wife of reggae superstar, Bob Marley, and a member of his backup group, the I Threes, she was a singer with the girl group, the Soulettes. They began recording with legendary producer, Clement Dodd, in 1964. It was Dodd who suggested that Bob become their mentor and manager. And during this time, Rita and Bob fell in love.
She released her first single, Pied Piper, in 1967, a year after she married Bob and approximately 7 years after they met.
Between having children — she had three with Bob — and being a backup singer with the I Threes from 1974 to 1981, Rita probably did not have time to record another solo album as the next one is dated 1980. Following Bob’s death, she recorded more than 10 albums, the most recent in 2006, which saw limited success.
As the widow of the reggae superstar, Rita has worked tirelessly to preserve Bob’s memory. Following his death, she turned Bob’s home on Hope Road in Kingston into a museum and established a foundation which bears the late singer’s name.
In addition to her efforts to keep the Marley name alive, in 2000, Rita created her own foundation, which works to alleviate hunger and poverty among youths and the elderly in developing countries.
Rita, who was born in Santiago, Cuba in 1946 makes her home in Ghana, where she is known as Nana Rita.
Please give a listen to One Draw.
Photo of Rita Marley courtesy of Michael Chambers Photography. You can see more of Michael’s work on Facebook at Michael Chambers Photography.