American Masters: Season 15, Episode 5

Bob Marley: Rebel Music (14 Feb. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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Profile of the life and music of the legendary reggae singer.


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Profile of the life and music of the legendary reggae singer.

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Worth your time.
21 September 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I was very surprised to see that an episode of PBS's "American Masters" would be devoted to an artist who is NOT from the United States and who spent very little time here. When I did a quick check, I found that there was some precedent--but about 95% of the shows were about Americans. In addition to Bob Marley, there have been episodes on Albert Einstein and Placido Domingo--both non-Americans though they did live in the States at various points in their lives. I am sure there are probably others, but just don't feel like looking through every episode of the series. Suffice to say, it was VERY unusual to see this show about Marley.

The show discusses the life and career of Marley. His gradual ascendancy in the musical world to eventually being a world best-selling singer as well as political statesman (like him or not, he did command a huge following) was the main thrust of the show. If you want a song-by-song discography and discussions of his music, this is probably not your best bet. But, as a man who raised issues about black consciousness through his songs, the show excels. My only qualms are a few of the claims about the CIA. I wouldn't be surprised if they were true--but little evidence seemed to be presented regarding this. Concerning the apartheid government in South Africa deliberately destroying tracks on his albums covertly, this, by the way, is widely accepted as fact--and I've seen other documentaries mention this (such as "Searching for Sugar Man").

Overall, about as good a portrait of the man as I have seen--both the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the guy--which is what I would want in such a film.

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