You don’t have to look hard to see the influence of Bob Marley. Just switch the reggae station on your direcTV channel guide or do an online search for “reggae music.” He is easily the most prominent reggae artist of all time.

Bob Marley was born as Nesta Robert Marley on February 6, 1945 in the village of Nine Mile in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica to Norval Sinclair Marley and Cedella Booker. At an early age, Marley began to play music with his step brother Bunny Wailer. By the time he was 14, Marley left school to make music with Rastafarian singer Joe Higgs. Soon thereafter, he met Peter Tosh, who shared a similar enthusiasm about music.

By 1963, Marley, along with Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith, formed a ska/rocksteady group called “The Teenagers.” The group later changed their name to the “The Wailing Rudeboys,” then “The Wailing Wailers,” before finally settling on “The Wailers.” During this time, they were discovered by record producer Coxsone Dodd and grew very popular in Jamaica. However, Braithwaite, Kelso and Smith left the group in 1966 amidst financial difficulties, leaving The Wailers with the trio of Marley, Wailer and Tosh.

After a short hiatus from music, The Wailers got the break they were looking for in 1972 when they signed with Island Records. They finally got to record a full album in the studios. The resulting album, Catch a Fire, was a huge success. At this time, Bob Marley and The Wailers took off and never looked back.

Marley died on May 11, 1981 at only 36 years old. While Marley left this world way too early, his music will live on forever.