ZIGGY MARLEYThu 22 Dec
Birth name: David Nesta “Ziggy” Marley
Stage name: Ziggy Marley
Born: 17 October 1968 Kingston, Jamaica.
In the earliest known record of his musical career, David Marley performed as part of a singing group called The Seven Do Bees, made up of him and his classmates, and wherein he was given the stage name “Freddie Dic”. The moniker never stuck, however, and instead David went on to become known as “Ziggy”, a nickname given to him by his father Bob Marley, meaning ‘little spliff’.
During the late 70s, Ziggy could also be seen alongside his brother Stephen at some of their father’s larger concerts around Jamaica and abroad. In 1978, the duo appeared on stage at the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, and the following year at Reggae Sunsplash II in Montego Bay.
Also in 1979, Ziggy and his siblings Sharon, Cedella and Stephen formed the Melody Makers – named after the British weekly pop/rock music newspaper, Melody Maker – and made their recording debut with “Children Playing in the Streets”. The track was written for them by their father, who had composed the song four years earlier for them and wanted to share this gift with children around the world. All royalties from the single were pledged to the United Nations, to aid its efforts during the International Year of the Child.
Later that year, the Melody Makers made their on-stage debut as a group on 23 September 1979, performing on the same bill as their father for the first and only time at the ‘Roots Rock Reggae’ two-day concert series in Kingston’s National Arena. Ziggy was 11 years old at the time. Notable other early moments in Ziggy’s musical history include a performance with Stephen at their father’s funeral in 1981, and later that year the Melody Makers released their second single, “What A Plot”, under the family’s Tuff Gong record label.
After Bob Marley’s passing, Ziggy began performing in his place alongside the Wailers at various shows around Jamaica, and in 1984 the group went on tour in support of the year’s Bob Marley ’Legend’ compilation album release.
Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers
1984-1987: Play the Game Right, name change and subsequent releases
Later in 1984, Ziggy Marley got back into the studio with his siblings and English producer Steve Levine for what became the single, “Lying in Bed.” The following year, they released their debut LP, Play the Game Right. The album was produced by their mother, Rita Marley, and featured Aston and Carlton Barrett on bass and drums, respectively, who were originally the rhythm section for Bob Marley’s Wailers.
In 1986, Hey World was released and credited to Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers. This album laid the groundwork for the group’s fast maturing sound. A phenomenal mix of upbeat pop and heavier roots, cemented by hip electro-production, it was evident that the Melody Makers were no longer in the thrall of their father’s music, but had found their own voice. In support of the album, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers embarked on their first tour, a veritable Tuff Gong roadshow with Nadine Sutherland and the I-Threes along as opening acts. The group was well received at the yearly Reggae Sunsplash in 1986 and 1987.
1988–1990: Conscious Party, career breakthrough and subsequent releases
In 1988, the band’s popularity was at such a height that they were signed to the international major label Virgin Records. Later that year, they went into the studio with Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz of Talking Heads to record their third album, Conscious Party. The album charted at #23 on the Billboard 200 and at #26 on the R&B Albums chart. The album spawned the successful single “Tomorrow People”, which charted at #16 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #39 on the Hot 100. The second single “Tumblin’ Down” was also well received charting at #1 on Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and at #28 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles charts. The album received a Grammy award for “Best Reggae Album”.
The Melody Makers’ follow-up album One Bright Day, released in 1989. The album charted at #26 on the Billboard 200 and at #43 on the R&B Albums chart. The single “Look Who’s Dancin'” received positive feedback and charted at #41 on Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and at #23 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles charts. The album also spawned the singles “Black My Story (Not History)”, “One Bright Day”, “Justice”, and “When the Lights Gone Out”. The album received a Grammy award for “Best Reggae Album”.
In 1991, the group released their sixth album, Jahmekya. Although it brought the Melody Makers their most glowing reviews, the record itself did not begin to equal the sales of their last albums, and their single, “Good Time”, barely scraped into the bottom reaches of the charts. The single “Good Time” only charted #85 on Hot 100 charts. The album charted at #3 on the Top World Music Albums and at #63 on the Billboard 200. The album also spawned the singles “Rainbow Country”, “Kozmic”, and “Small People”. The album received a Grammy nomination.
1993-1997: Joy and Blues, Ghetto Youths United, leaving Virgin Records and subsequent releases
In 1993, the group released their seventh album “Joy and Blues”. The album charted at #5 on the Top World Music Albums chart, #75 on the R&B Albums chart, #178 on the Billboard 200 chart, and #11 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. Returning to their roots with a vengeance, and accompanied by former Wailers’ bassist Aston Barrett, the album was their final one for Virgin.
In 1995, the group signed a mmmmmm record deal with Elektra and released “Free Like We Want 2 B” accompanied by the group’s own recording label “Ghetto Youths United”. The album charted at #170 on the Billboard 200 chart and #3 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. The single “Power to Move Ya” charted #13 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles.
In 1996 Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers released a song called “Love Power” for the Jim Henson soundtrack movie Muppet Treasure Island with the composers Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil 
In early 1997, the group performed at the tribute concert “Marley Magic Live” in Central Park, New York on the Summerstage. They also released their second best-of album “The Best of (1988-1993)”. Later that year, the group released ninth album “Fallen Is Babylon”. The album only charted #3 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. In 1998, the second single “Everyone Wants to Be” charted at #16 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart. The album earned the group their third Grammy award.
1999-2001: The Spirit of Music and final releases
In 1999, the group released their tenth studio album, “The Spirit of Music”. The album peaked at #1 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. The album spawned the singles “Higher Vibration”, “Jah Will Be Done”, and “One Good Spliff”. Later that year, the group reunited to perform at the “One Love All-Star Tribute Concert”. The concert was recorded and released in the same year and features other performances from Rita Marley, Julian Marley, Erykah Badu, and other artists.
In 2000, the group released their live album “Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live, Vol. 1”, which charted at #5 on the Top Reggae Albums chart. In May 2001, the group released a concert DVD “Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers Live”. The DVD was filmed in 2001 in Pompano Beach, Florida.