Bob Marley Net Worth at Death – How Did He Get Rich?

With income from his album sales and concerts, Bob Marley had a net worth of $32 million at the time of his death. When many people hear the word “reggae,” they immediately think of Bob Marley. This famous singer began his career as a member of the band “The Wailers.” He is known for his moving performances. 

The group “The Wailers,” which had well-known musicians like Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Junior Braithwaite, made some of the best albums of their time. They are still known for songs like “Simmer Down” and “Rude Boy,” as well as for “Catch a Fire” and “Soul Revolution,” which are considered cult albums. Once the band members went their separate ways, Bob Marley found new musicians to work with and kept putting out albums under the name “Bob Marley and The Wailers.” 

Under this name, his first album was called “Live!” After that, he made records like “Rastaman Vibration,” “Kaya,” “Exodus,” and “Babylon by Bus.” His album “Rastaman Vibration” broke sales records and made him known as a peace-loving humanitarian. 

This singer was known for his strong belief in the “Rastafari Movement,” and his songs showed that. After his death, which was caused by malignant melanoma, this famous person was given a number of awards, including the “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.” Learn more about his life and his work.

Today we’re going to discuss how much money Bob Marley has and how he builds his net worth.

At the end of this article, we will also tell you how to get rich like Bob Marley. So be sure to read to the end.

Bob Marley Net Worth at Death 

Bob Marley had an estimated net worth of $32 million at the time of his death. Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter Bob Marley served as a world ambassador for reggae music and sold more than 20 million records throughout his career. He earned more than $5 million a year at the height of his career. 

Bob Marley and his friends formed the Wailing Wailers in 1963. The Wailers got their big break when they signed with Island Records in 1972. He became the first international superstar to come from the Third World after selling more than 20 million records in his career.

He is best known for his 1976 album “Rastaman Vibration,” which broke several records in the United States. The track “War” from the same album gained historical fame for its strong condemnation of apartheid in South Africa. The song made it to the top 50 numbers in the “Billboard Soul Charts”.

To calculate the net worth of Bob Marley, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as student loans and credit card debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Bob Marley
Net Worth: $32 Million
Monthly Salary: $300,000
Annual Income: $5 Million+
Source of Wealth: Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Songwriter

Bob Marley’s Estate

In the decades following Marley’s death, his music and image rights brought his heirs hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Reportedly, unauthorized and authorized royalties bring in more than $500 million each year. However, the estate only benefits from authorized (legal) deals. Today, the estate generates between $25 million and $30 million annually in royalties. If Bob Marley were still alive, he would currently be worth well over $200 million.

How Much Money Did Bob Marley Make From His Music, Songs, Albums, and Concerts?

Bob Marley earned more than $30 million during his music career from his songs, albums and tours. Early in his career, a local record producer, Leslie Kong, liked Marley’s singing and let him record a few singles, the first of which, “Judge Not,” was released in 1962. While he did not have success as a solo artist, Marley had some success with his friends. In 1963, Marley, Livingston and McIntosh formed the Wailing Wailers. Their first single, “Simmer Down,” reached the top of the Jamaican charts in January 1964. At that time, the group also included Junior Braithwaite, Beverly Kelso and Cherry Smith.

The group became quite popular in Jamaica, but had difficulty making ends meet financially. Braithewaite, Kelso and Smith left the group. The remaining members lived apart for a time. Marley left for the United States, where his mother now lived. However, before leaving, he married Rita Anderson on February 10, 1966.

After eight months, Marley returned to Jamaica. He rejoined Livingston and McIntosh and formed the Wailers. At this time, Marley discovered his spiritual side and developed a growing interest in the Rastafarian movement. The Rastafari religious and political movement emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s and drew its beliefs from many sources, including Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey, the Old Testament, and their African heritage and culture.

For a time in the late 1960s, Marley collaborated with pop singer Johnny Nash. Nash scored a worldwide hit with Marley’s song “Stir It Up.” The Wailers also worked with producer Lee Perry during this time; some of their successful songs together included “Trench Town Rock,” “Soul Rebel,” and “Four Hundred Years.”

In 1970, the Wailers added two new members: bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton “Carlie” Barrett. The following year, Marley worked in Sweden with Johnny Nash on a soundtrack for a movie.

Big Break

The Wailers had their big breakthrough in 1972, when they got a contract with Island Records, founded by Chris Blackwell. For the first time, the group went into the studios to record a full album. The result was the critically acclaimed Catch a Fire. In support of the album, the Wailers toured the United Kingdom and the United States in 1973, opening for Bruce Springsteen and Sly & the Family Stone. That same year, the group released its second full album, Burnin’, which included the hit “I Shot the Sheriff. The rock legend Eric Clapton released a cover version of the song in 1974, which became a number one hit in the United States.

Before the release of their next album, 1975’s Natty Dread, two of the three original Wailers left the group; McIntosh and Livingston opted for solo careers as Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer, respectively. Natty Dread reflected some of the political tensions in Jamaica between the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party. As a result of these conflicts, violence sometimes erupted. “Rebel Music (3 Of the clock Road Block)” was inspired by Marley’s own experience of being stopped by army personnel the night before the 1972 national elections, and “Revolution” has been interpreted by many as Marley’s support for the PNP.

On their next tour, the Wailers performed with I-Threes, a women’s group that included Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt and Marley’s wife Rita. The group, now called Bob Marley & The Wailers, toured extensively and helped increase the popularity of reggae abroad. In the UK, they had their first Top 40 hit in 1975 with “No Woman, No Cry.”

In his native Jamaica, Marley was already a much-admired star, and he was on his way to becoming an international music icon. He made it onto the U.S. music charts in 1976 with the album Rastaman Vibration. One song stands out as an expression of his devotion to his faith and his interest in political change: “War.” The song’s lyrics come from a speech by Haile Selassie, the 20th-century Ethiopian emperor who is considered a spiritual leader of sorts in the Rastafarian movement. The song is a battle cry for freedom from oppression and is about a new Africa without the racial hierarchy enforced by colonial rule.

Politics and Assassination Attempt

Back in Jamaica, Marley continued to be considered a supporter of the People’s National Party. And his influence in his homeland was seen as a threat to PNP rivals. This may have led to the assassination attempt on Marley in 1976. A group of gunmen ambushed Marley and the Wailers while they were rehearsing at National Heroes Park in Kingston on the night of December 3, 1976, two days before a scheduled concert.

One bullet hit Marley in the sternum and bicep, and another hit his wife, Rita, in the head. Fortunately, the Marleys were not seriously injured, but manager Don Taylor was less fortunate. Taylor was shot five times and required surgery to save his life. Despite the attack, and after much deliberation, Marley still performed at the show. The motive for the attack was never clarified, and Marley fled the country the day after the concert.

Marley lived in London, England, and began work on Exodus, which was released in 1977. The title song makes an analogy between the biblical story of Moses and the exodus of the Israelites from exile and his own situation. The song is also about the return to Africa. The concept of Africans and descendants of Africans returning to their homeland can be related to Garvey’s work. Released as a single, “Exodus” was a hit in the UK, as were “Waiting in Vain” and “Jamming,” and the entire album stayed in the British charts for more than a year. Today, Exodus is considered one of the best albums of all time.

In 1977, Marley had a health problem. In July of that year, he underwent treatment for a toe he had injured that year. After doctors discovered cancer cells in his toe, they suggested amputation. Marley refused the procedure, however, because his religious beliefs forbade amputation.

‘Redemption Song’

While working on Exodus, Marley and the Wailers recorded songs that were later released on the album Kaya (1978). The work, which had love as its theme, contained two hits: “Satisfy My Soul” and “Is This Love.” Also in 1978, Marley returned to Jamaica to perform his One Love Peace Concert, in which he got Prime Minister Michael Manley of the PNP and Opposition Leader Edward Seaga of the JLP to shake hands on stage.

That same year, Marley made his first trip to Africa, visiting Kenya and Ethiopia – a country particularly close to his heart, as it is considered the spiritual home of the Rastafari. Perhaps inspired by his travels, his next album, Survival (1979), was a call for greater unity and an end to oppression on the African continent. In 1980, Bob Marley & The Wailers played at the official independence celebration of the new state of Zimbabwe.

The album Uprising (1980) was a huge international success and included the tracks “Could You Be Loved” and “Redemption Song.The stripped-down, folk-sounding “Redemption Song,” known for its poetic lyrics and social and political significance, showcased Marley’s talents as a songwriter. One line of the song reads, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; no one but ourselves can free our minds.”

On their tour in support of the album, Bob Marley & The Wailers traveled throughout Europe performing for large crowds. They also planned a series of concerts in the United States, but the group played only three concerts there – two at Madison Square Garden in New York City and one performance at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – before Marley became ill. The cancer, which had previously been discovered on his toe, had spread throughout his body.

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Bob Marley’s Death and Memorial

Marley traveled to Europe, underwent unconventional treatment in Germany, and was subsequently able to fight the cancer for months. However, it soon became clear that Marley did not have long to live, and so the musician set out to return to his beloved Jamaica one last time. Unfortunately, he did not manage to complete the journey and died on May 11, 1981 in Miami, Florida.

Shortly before his death, Marley was awarded the Order of Merit by the Jamaican government. He was also awarded the Peace Medal by the United Nations in 1980. Revered by the Jamaican people, Marley was given a hero’s farewell. More than 30,000 people paid their last respects to the musician during a memorial service at the National Arena in Kingston, Jamaica. Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt sang and the Wailers performed at the ceremony.

Bob Marley’s Legacy

Marley accomplished several major feats during his lifetime: he served as a global ambassador for reggae music, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and sold more than 20 million records – making him the first international superstar to come from the so-called Third World.

Decades after his death, Marley’s music still enjoys wide recognition. His musical legacy continues through his family and longtime bandmates; Rita continues to perform with the I-Threes, the Wailers and some of the Marley children. (Marley’s sons David “Ziggy” and Stephen, and daughters Cedella and Sharon (Rita’s daughter from a previous relationship who was adopted by Marley) played for years as Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers and later performed as The Melody Makers. Sons Damian “Gong Jr.” Ky-Mani and Julian are also talented recording artists. Other Marley children are involved in family businesses, including the Tuff Gong record label, which Marley founded in the mid-1960s.

In January 2018, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell sold the majority of his rights to Marley’s catalog to Primary Wave Music Publishing, known for its branding and marketing campaigns for the “icons and legends” business. Primary Wave founder Larry Mestel said, “There’s no corner of the world where Bob Marley isn’t a god.” 

Marley’s commitment to fighting oppression also continues through an organization founded in his memory by the Marley family: The Bob Marley Foundation is dedicated to helping people and organizations in developing countries.

Bob Marley’s Early Life, Education, Family

Born on February 6, 1945, in St. Ann Parish, Jamaica, Marley helped introduce reggae music to the world and remains one of the genre’s most popular artists. Son of a teenage black mother and a much older, later absent white father, he spent his early years in St. Ann Parish, in a rural village called Nine Miles.

One of his boyhood friends in St. Ann was Neville “Bunny” O’Riley Livingston. The two attended the same school and shared a love of music. Bunny inspired Marley to learn to play the guitar. Later, Livingston’s father and Marley’s mother joined him, and they lived together in Kingston for a time, as Christopher John Farley does in Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley.

When Marley came to Kingston in the late 1950s, he lived in Trench Town, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. He struggled with poverty, but found inspiration in the music that surrounded him. Trench Town had a number of successful local artists and was considered the Motown of Jamaica. Sounds from the United States also filtered into Trench Town through the radio and jukeboxes. Marley liked artists like Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino and the Drifters.

Marley and Livingston devoted much of their time to music. Under the tutelage of Joe Higgs, Marley worked to improve his singing skills. He met another student of Higgs, Peter McIntosh (later Peter Tosh), who would play an important role in Marley’s career.

Bob Marley’s Personal Life and Wife

In 1966, Bob Marley converted from the Catholic to the “Rastafarian” religion and incorporated the rituals and culture of the movement into his reggae music. He also consumed marijuana and persisted, although he was once arrested for possession of this drug.

Marley married Alpharita Constantia Anderson, commonly known as Rita, on February 10, 1966, in Kingston. The couple had three children, Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen.

Although he was married only to Rita, the singer also had children from other relationships. He also adopted the children Rita bore from other relationships.

Bob Marley Height and Weight

Bob Marley is 5 ft 7 in (1.72 m) tall and his weight is 65 kg.

Bob Marley Age and Birthday

Bob Marley was born on Feb 6, 1945 and died on May 11, 1981 at 36 years old.

Favorite Bob Marley Quotes

Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. 


Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live! 


Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? 


The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. 


Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold. 


The good times of today, are the sad thoughts of tomorrow. 


When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.

View our larger collection of the best Bob Marley quotes.

Further Reading

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How To Become Rich Like Bob Marley?

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