Bob Marley is still considered one of the most influential musicians of all time, with millions of albums sold and several iconic songs under his belt. In celebration of his birthday, here is a look at some of his most memorable records
Bob Marley, who would have turned 72 today, was one of the pioneering artists of the reggae music industry. He first began performing with The Wailers in 1963, with whom he honed his talents as a musician and songwriter. After the band split in 1974, Marley pursued a solo career as he relocated from Jamaica to England. His skills, which only got better as the years wore on, were eventually recognized the world over.
His 1977 album, Exodus, cemented his name as one of the best selling artists of all time. With over 75 million copies sold worldwide, the album stayed on the British charts for 56 consecutive weeks. He released Kaya the following year despite being diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma, of which he died from at the age of 36.
In celebration of his career and the imprint he left—not just in reggae, but in music in general—below is a list of some of the most memorable and inspiring Bob Marley songs.
The title track of Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1977 album is considered their first international hit. The lyrics tell the story of Moses, as it ties to the Rastas—members of the Rastafari religion, of which Marley was part—and their hope of freedom by Jah. It was important then and is still relevant now, as Exodus discusses the importance of racial equality and social equity.
“Waiting In Vain” (1977)
Waiting In Vain is one of Marley’s most notable and widely known hits. The lyrics discuss finding love that is not reciprocated and is partnered with non-traditional reggae music. The sound itself features a bubbly beat with a mix of pop rock.
“One Love/People Get Ready” (1977)
In one of the songs where Marley is speaking directly to his listeners, he pushes individuals to work and live together in One Love. For decades now, it has become a theme song for a uniting movement, but a deeper look into the lyrics shows that it discusses so much more. Marley wrote the song amids turmoil in Jamaica and mentions oppression and sin.
“Satisfy My Soul” (1978)
Featured in Kaya, Satisfy My Soul is most often referred to as the greatest love song ever recorded by Bob Marley and The Wailers. The music that flows through the sweet lyrics seem to blend in perfectly with the words. Moreover, it touches on the idea that true love is calming instead of overwhelming.
“Redemption Song” (1980)
Written about the time that Marley found out about his cancer, Redemption Song is from the album Uprising. It is special because of its acoustic recording, but features themes that Marley had always felt strongly about. Often interpreted as a spiritual recording, it also acts as a call to struggle against oppression.