The Gibson guitar Bob Marley played throughout the 1970s, and was famously photographed for a Rolling Stone cover in 1976, has made its first journey out of Jamaica since his death in 1981.
Ziggy Marley hand-delivered the guitar Tuesday (May 10) to the Grammy Museum to make it a centerpiece in the exhibit "Bob Marley: Messenger" that opened today (May 11), the 30th anniversary of Marley's death.
"That was his weapon," Ziggy Marley told Billboard.com at the downtown Los Angeles museum. "It was one of the most important things to him. To share that with people -- he would have wanted that. He wanted people to be as close to him as possible. He was a not a solitary kind of person."
Marley is on a promotional tour for projects related to his father, such as the exhibit and Universal's release last year of the two-CD set his father's final concert in September 1980. He appeared Monday on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" to kick off a week of performances of songs by Marley and the Wailers.
Ziggy Marley also has a new album, "Wild and Free," being released June 14 on Tuff Gong. While the new album's title track is a smoke-induced tribute to marijuana with Woody Harrelson, Marley exposes a personal side that he has never previously explored. The song "Roads Less Traveled" represents the first time he has ever addressed his father and mother in a song.
"I comfortable with it now," Marley says. "It's truth. I come from a private family. Usually we don't talk about stuff like that, but (it's OK) because it's in the context of a song about me choosing a different routes than my father and family."
The Marley exhibit, which runs through Oct. 2, includes one of his shirts, photographs taken between 1974 and 1980, a 45 of his 1963 release "Judge Not," a signed concert poster from the mid-70s and items from other reggae
performers. A film shot at the Rainbow Theater in London in 1977 is beamed on a rear wall of the museum.
There is little from the days before Marley became an international star in the mid-70s with songs such as "No Woman, No Cry" and "Lively Up Yourself." Memorabilia, the show's curators said, is hard to come by due to Marley giving away many of his possessions and thefts over the years.
The exhibit, Marley says, is "to show him as a man not just as a legend," a word he pronounces with a hint of bitterness. "That shirt that he wore makes more personal and relatable. This is how close you can get, especially for the generation that wasn't around and didn't see him."