Bob Marley wasn't well-known beyond college campuses when Kim Gottlieb was dispatched to Jamaica in the early '70s to photograph him in his homeland. Gottlieb was hired by Marley's label, Island Records, but she ended up shooting more than just album covers and publicity stills: She walked away with hundreds of intimate photos of Marley at home and on the road.
Those pics are compiled in the new book Bob Marley and the Golden Age of Reggae, which features rare and never-before-published images of Marley, whose smash album Legend has sold a whopping 25 million copies worldwide. (Marley didn't live to enjoy his global fame: he died of melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36.) Also featured are photos of other reggae greats like Peter Tosh, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, and more.
Gottlieb recently got the idea to publish the book after flipping through her archives. "Going back and looking at these pictures was a revelation," she says. "I realized it was such a huge body of work and that many of these negatives had never even been printed."
Scroll down to see more photos, plus Gottlieb's thoughts about hanging out with the reggae icon.
Catch a Fire
Marley takes a break from interviews at Hollywood's Sunset Marquis in July 1975. "I always enjoyed photographing him in interviews because he was just so expressive," says Gottlieb.
In this photo, Marley wears the Hebrew "Chai" character, which means "Life."
Stir It UpMarley at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, taping one of his first U.S. television appearances in 1975.
Marley playing soccer in West Hollywood in 1975. "Whenever he had free time he always kicked the ball around," says Gottlieb. "He had great control."
Marley at Home
The singer is photographed in front of an Ethiopian flag at his home in Jamaica. "He never liked to pose for pictures," says Gottlieb. "The first one that I took in this series, he was very serious. But then I peeked out from the camera and said, 'Bob, the people that are seeing these pictures already love you!' and he broke into a smile."
On the Town
Marley (with Don Taylor behind the wheel and bandmembers Carly Barrett, Seeco, and Aston Barret in the backseat) on their way to CBS Studios in Los Angeles, 1975.
Marley performs at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1976. "He wasconstantly dancing and moving when he performed," remembers Gottlieb.
Marley and the Wailers perform at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in 1976.