Written by Jamaican-born journalist Christopher John Farley of the Wall Street Journal
(New York, NY)— On May 1, 2006, Amistad/HarperCollins will publish journalist Christopher John Farley’s new book “Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley.” It’s the first major biography of Bob Marley in more than two decades and coincides with the 25th anniversary of the icon’s death in 1981. For the book, Farley interviewed everyone who played a significant role in Marley’s life, including Bunny Wailer, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Rita Marley, Family Man, Chris Blackwell and others.
Chuck D of Public Enemy, after reading Farley’s new biography, said “Christopher J. Farley has respect for the root of black music and art…Trust me, Mr. Farley clearly makes one feel the importance of a culture.”
Perry Henzell, director of “The Harder They Come,” said of the book, “Want to know how Bob Marley made it from nothing to become the strongest presence in music worldwide? Read Christopher John Farley’s book!” And Kwame Dawes, author of “Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius,” called Farley’s new biography “brilliant.”
Says Farley: “I wanted to show readers a side of Bob they had never seen before. I wanted to tell them stories about Bob they had never heard before. There have been some interesting things written about Marley in the past, but this book tells the definitive story of his early years. My book sets the record straight by talking to the folks that knew him best–his family and the musicians who played with him.”
Christopher John Farley was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Brockport, New York. He is a 1988 graduate of Harvard University and a former editor of The Harvard Crimson and The Harvard Lampoon. He has worked as a reporter for USA Today and as a music critic, writer and editor for Time magazine. He has interviewed many of the important and interesting musicians of the last half-century, including Bob Dylan, Prince, U2, Alicia Keys, Joni Mitchell, Aaliyah, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre, Outkast, Mariah Carey, Norah Jones, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen and many others. Farley’s much-discussed interview with runaway comedian Dave Chappelle broke the news that the comic was on a “spiritual retreat” in South Africa. Farley is currently an editor at The Wall Street Journal.
Farley’s previous book, the novel “Kingston by Starlight”, is a fictional retelling of the true story of Anne Bonny, a woman who dressed as a man and became a pirate in the 18th century. Frank McCourt, author of “Angela’s Ashes”, called the novel “superbly poetic” and Edwidge Danticat, author of “The Dew Breaker”, said “I could not put it down.” The New York Times named “Kingston by Starlight” one of its “Editor’s Choice” selections and the Library Journal, in a starred review, compared it to “Moby Dick” and “Treasure Island”. The New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote that “Farley creates Bonny’s interior life with insight and compassion. The voice of this novel is convincing and seductive.”
“In a way, I’ve been writing about Jamaica my whole life,” says Farley. “I was born in Jamaica. My mother is from Jamaica. My brother Jonathan is set to take up an appointment as head of the math and computer science department at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in Jamaica. The island, reggae, and Bob Marley’s music is in my blood.”
Farley is also the author of “My Favorite War”, a satirical novel about the first Gulf War. The Washington Post raved that “My Favorite War” is one of those rare jewels. It has everything a page-turner should: chapters that hurl you forward, three-dimensional characters who come in all colors and genders, contemporary hipness that will preserve well over time, not to mention intrigue, romance, equal-opportunity stereotypes, political correctness and incorrectness. Farley’s work is included in The Vintage Book of War Fiction, a collection of the finest writing about war in the 20th century which also features pieces by Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer. Farley is also the co-author of “Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues,” a book which served as the companion volume to the PBS series. Scorsese called Farley a “great biographer and critic.” Farley’s biography “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman” was a national bestseller.
[Amistad/Harpercollins; ISBN: 0060539917; On Sale: 05/02/2006; Hardcover; Pages: 224; $21.95]
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