Rita Marley

Irie Magazine presents Chronicle - Rita Marley

Alpharita Constantia “Rita” Marley (née Anderson; born 25 July 1946), is a Cuban-Jamaican singer and the widow of Bob Marley. She was a member of the vocal group the I Threes, along with Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, who gained recognition as the backing vocalists for Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Biography

Early life and marriage to Bob Marley

Rita was born 25 July 1946 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, to Leroy Anderson and Cynthia “Beda” Jarrett. She grew up in the upper level of Beachwood Avenue, located in Kingston, Jamaica. In her book No Woman, No Cry: My Life with Bob Marley Rita describes how she was raised by her Aunt Viola on Greenwich Park Road. Bob was from the lower level of Trenchtown.

In the mid 1960s, Rita met Bob after meeting Peter Tosh. After it was learned that she was a singer, she was asked to audition for the Soulettes, later known as the I Threes. The group included Rita, her cousin Constantine “Dream” Walker, and Marlene “Precious” Giffordwas. Bob became the group’s mentor and manager and through working together, he and Rita fell in love.

On 3 December 1976, two days before “Smile Jamaica“, a free concert organised by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley Rita, Bob, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside the Marley home. Rita survived a shot to the head and Taylor sustained serious injuries from being shot in the leg. Bob Marley had a bullet skid his chest and wound his arm.

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