There are few music icons who have made their mark with their songs in the global music landscape and one of these persons is Robert Nesta Marley, Jamaican singer and songwriter better known as Bob Marley.
Bob Marley engraved his name on the sands of time with his politically driven songs and biblically referenced Rasta principles that shaped his legacy.
During Marley’s time, the legendary singer spoke truth to power, fought deeply-rooted societal ills, and strongly preached love in a world grappling with racial discrimination and other forms of divisions with his songs.
His contributions to music increased the visibility of Jamaican music worldwide and made him a global figure in popular culture for over a decade.
Four decades after his demise, he remains a symbol of inspiration for music lovers in the quest for a united world.
Bob Marley, passed away on May 11, 1981 after battling acral lentiginous melanoma — a form of skin cancer — for four years.
May 11, 2021, made it forty years since the death of the legend and we curated a list of 10 Bob Marley evergreen songs to revisit
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There is also a deeper meaning behind the song than a simple call for unity. Some of the lyrics are about oppression and how sinners will pay for their evil deeds in the end.
One of Bob Marley’s most inspiring and popular songs, its lyrics derived from a speech by the Pan-Africanist speaker Marcus Garvey called ‘The Work That Has Been Done’.
When he wrote it, Bob Marley had been diagnosed with cancer.
The Buffalo Soldiers were a segregated regiment of black cavalry fighters during the American campaign to rid the West of “Indians” so that “civilized” white people could gain the lands used by Native Americans.
Ironically, many of the soldiers were slaves taken from Africa. Bob Marley gives a small history lesson as a protest song about the black man’s role in building the country that continues to oppress him.
Released two years after Marley’s death, this song was one of the last that he recorded. The song was included on Confrontation (1983), which was the first Bob Marley album released after his death, and also on the hits collection Legend (1984), which became the best-selling reggae album of all time.
No Woman No Cry
This became Marley’s first hit when it was released as a single from his album, Live!, which was recorded at the Lyceum in London in 1975. It was a hot July night, and they gave a rousing performance. This tour was a breakthrough for Marley and The Wailers.
The original line of the song is “No, Woman, Nuh cry.” Nuh is Jamaican for “don’t,” so what is meant by the lyric is No, Woman, Don’t cry… He’s leaving and reassuring her that the slum they live in won’t get her down, that everything will be alright and “don’t shed no tear.”
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This celebration song contains the line, “No bullet can stop us now”. On December 3, 1976, Marley was shot by unknown gunmen who had broken into his home, but he soon recovered.
Stevie Wonder later released the song ‘Master Blaster (Jammin’)’ as a tribute to Marley and this song in particular.
Is This Love
Taken from 1978’s Kaya, this track became one of Bob Marley’s biggest hits.
Its music video was shot at the Keskidee Arts Centre in London and features a seven-year-old Naomi Campbell in her first public appearance.
This uplifting tune from Bob Marley & The Wailers’ ninth studio album, Exodus, is famous for its reassuring refrain, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright” – a message Marley claims to have received from the birds that frequented his porch stoop in Kingston, Jamaica.
Could You Be Loved
Written by Marley in 1979, “Could You Be Loved” starts with a spare yet distinctive guitar riff that repeats under the track’s relentless beat and one of the best known opening lines in history: “Don’t let them fool ya! Or even try to school ya!”
The interpretation of this opener and the other lyrics depends on what you think the song’s about. Some think it’s a love song.
Stir It Up
First recorded back in 1967, this was one of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ first hits outside America.
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I Shot the Sherriff
The story of this song is told from the point of view of a man who admits to having killed the corrupt local sheriff who is harassing him but was falsely accused of having killed the deputy sheriff.
Marley said that some of the song is true, but would not say which parts.