Hands down, Robert Nesta Marley is considered the greatest reggae artist to have ever lived, having helped popularize the genre around the globe. Born in Nine Mile village in Jamaica’s Saint Ann Parrish, Marley began his singing career as a member of the ska/rocksteady singing group The Wailers. After converting to the Rastafarian religion in the late ‘60s, Marley and his cohorts became part of a spiritual/racial awakening within a budding style of Jamaican music known as reggae. With an ethereal and deeply rhythmic sound—developed with help from producer Lee “Scratch” Perry—Bob Marley and the Wailers eventually signed with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records. At the label, Marley fulfilled Blackwell’s vision of him as a rock star, crossing the Wailers' reggae sound and the music’s deeply political/spiritual message over to a global—especially white—audience. The singer and musician died of skin cancer in 1981.