OK, so they both like donuts (who doesn't! ). They both shared a love of music and beautiful women and both enjoyed the odd 'herbal' cigarette. Ronnie first met Bob in the '70s and there was just something about the ital rhythm of Reggae that struck a chord with him. So what else inspired him to paint 'Get up stand up'. A work of art bought by pop singer Rihanna, and that she describes as 'a painting of a legend by a legend' and a fitting tribute to Bob Marley.
Bob Marley was born in Saint Anne Parish, Jamaica, in 1945. Named Nesta Robert Marley (a passport official would later swap around his first and second name. ) His father was of white, Scottish ancestry and his mother was a black Jamaican. He suffered racial prejudice in his younger years due to his mixed race, although he thought of himself as neither white nor black, just a creation of God.
Marley's musical career started with his friendship with Bunny Livingston and Rastafarian singer Joe Higgs, (Marley would later convert to the Rastafarian movement and adopt their trademark dreadlocks.) But it was his time spent with the Wailers that established his international musical reputation. In 1973 The Wailers first album 'Catch a Fire' was released and the following year the album "Burnin' which included the song 'Get up, stand up' with its definitive lyrics - 'Get up, stand up ..Stand up for your rights'. This was the track Ronnie Wood chose as the title for his portrait of Marley.
In 1979 Bob Marley and The Wailers were on a world tour promoting their album 'Survival'. A politically provocative and controversial album, featuring songs such as 'Wake up and live', 'Survival', 'Zimbabwe' and 'Africa Unite'. Emphasizing Marley's opposition to apartheid in South Arica and his support for the struggles of all Africans. When the tour reached San Francisco's Oakland Coliseum, Ronnie Wood got a call from Al Anderson, one of Bob Marley's guitar players. Al had lost his guitar and asked to borrow one of Ronnie's; who obliged by flying up to San Francisco to deliver it personally. Unfortunately, when Ronnie arrived at the Stadium none of the Jamaican security guards recognized him; they thought he was just some skinny white boy trying to blag a backstage pass. Only one thing for it, a quick audition. Ronnie stood there, outside the artists entrance and played a few reggae riffs. The security guys liked what they heard and let him hang around until Al showed up. Once again, the Ronnie Wood art of 'carpe donum' ('seizing the donut') proved its worth.
Ronnie met Bob later in his dressing room, where the two legends shared their mutual interests and vibed to some of Marley's songs. Later that evening Ronnie was called on to stage to join in the encore - it lasted one and a half hours. The day ended with him and Bob having a kick around with a football.
Bob Marley will be remembered for so many of his great songs, 'One Love', 'No woman, no cry', 'Buffalo Solider'. Sadly, like so many great musicians he died young, in 1981 aged just 36, from cancer. Ronnie Wood's portrait of Marley, 'Get up, stand up' is indeed a painting of a legend by a legend. A tribute to Bob Marley and a superb example of Ronnie Wood's artistic talents.