FIVE: Bob Marley joints
Jamaican reggae legends Bob Marley and the Wailers have had more than their fair share of hit records. Formed in one of the nation’s most notorious slums, the Wailers rose from the ranks of Jamaica’s poorest to eventually become one of the world’s most revered reggae bands. The following are five of the group’s most important tracks:
1 “Simmer Down”
Recorded in late 1963, this was the Wailers’ first national hit and effectively turned the group into overnight sensations. “Simmer Down” was the first popular Jamaican record to speak directly to and for the emerging rudeboy culture, reminding them to “Simmer down/Oh control your temper.”
2 “Trenchtown Rock”
Released under Marley’s Tuff Gong label, “Trenchtown Rock,” sat atop the Jamaican charts for five months in 1971. The track, which praised the virtues of slum living and portrayed the poor as the righteous, was the first popular song in Jamaica to speak for their marginalized lower class.
3 “One Love”
Although some might be tempted to write this song off as a “lightweight” track, given that many of Marley’s classic records deal with heavy subject matter, this track is known the world over as an anthem for love and unity.
4 “Judge Not”
Recorded in 1961, “Judge Not” was the first single Marley ever released, and despite not gaining much acclaim when it was initially recorded, this track set the tone for the rest of Tuff Gong’s career.
5 “Redemption Song”
Written and recorded after Marley was diagnosed with cancer in 1979, “Redemption Song” is spoken from the point of view of an oppressed slave and has long served as one of the Wailers’ most powerful anthems.