When you think of reggae, you probably think of Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Despite leaving us at the young age of 36, Bob Marley has left a legacy of legendary music behind and we’re here to celebrate the best of his music. If anyone deserves to have their music heard in the high quality of vinyl, Bob Marley is absolutely one of them.
Marley’s story has been told many a time, but it deserves to be remembered. The story of a man who rose up and showed the entire world not only the genre of reggae, but his culture as a whole. His mark on history meant that other Jamaican artists behind him could branch out further and be seen in the west. He brought attention to the Rastafari religion of his home, and even supported legalization of marijuana, which has gone on to be very helpful in medical practices.
Marley had been between the UK and Jamaica a number of times, but surviving what was suspected to be a politically motivated assassination attempt in his own home, he moved to London indefinitely.
Then further tragedy struck when skin cancer claimed Marley’s health and eventually his life in 1981. His death was mourned all over the world and his name has still been remembered vividly to this day. His music spread love, joy and peace at its time and has continued to do the same to this very day. Did you know that Bob Marley’s music saw a massive increase of downloads during the coronavirus pandemic? Even today, his music heals us.
We’re going to have a look at some of his albums and think about why they’re worth owning- ESPECIALLY on vinyl.
A Selection of the Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers
This record came at a time shortly after Marley was shot, in an attempt to assassinate him. He took to London and during his time there he wrote up “Exodus”, what many would claim to be his greatest album of all time. Not only featuring “One Love” remastered beautifully with an interpolation of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”, but also featuring “Exodus”, “Jamming”, “Three Little Birds” and even more.
Down to the events that occurred before its release, it of course features some heavy political themes, but it does also feature a large portion of songs that are themed on the warmth of peace and love, as Marley made himself best known for.
Catch A Fire (1973)
The first album Bob Marley & The Wailers produced under Island Records, “Catch A Fire” was the one that introduced the world to their sound fully. Chris Blackwell saw to overdubbing instrumentals with more western instruments to appeal highly to a market he knew well. Overween by Marley himself, so the changes were agreeable before the album released and saw Marley and his band center stage in the eyes of the public.
This record was groundbreaking in more than one way. Not only did it bring a legend into the limelight, but it was the very first time a reggae band were given a top of the end studio and treated with the same amount of respect as their peers in other music genres, like pop artists and the undying rock ‘n’ roll.
Natty Dread (1974)
Bob Marley’s first venture without his old Wailers resulted in Natty Dread. This album carried much more thematic weight than some previous recordings, resulting in songs like “Rebel Music” and “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”. These songs were much more politically themed than a lot of previous material and their lyrics and themes spoke more about the struggling people and the battle they were fighting.
Though this album was not solely crafted of political music, as it features the reworked, feel good single “Lively Up Yourself” as well as the ever popular “No Woman, No Cry”. Even with heavier themes across the record, there’s no way to remove Marley from the positive energy his music exudes for a whole album.
The last album that was released under the name of “The Wailers” before they became “Bob Marley & The Wailers”, down to his growing creative influence over their music. The whole album is full of the bouncy, calming rhythm that The Wailers brought to the west to give them a great taste of reggae.
“I Shot The Sheriff” and “Get Up, Stand Up” are both particular standout tracks from this album. Of course both were written by Marley himself, and made a staple for not just The Wailers, but for Bob Marley himself as nothing short of a legend within the world of reggae and music as a whole.
This album’s live performances were recorded using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, in Lyceum Theatre in London. Interestingly, a lot of the tracks for the album were chosen from the show on the 17th July rather than the 18th. This record presented the same amount of care and quality as Marley’s studio albums and gives even today’s generations to hearing a live Marley show as close as it could possibly sound as being at the show itself.
The whole record is an absolute gem, some would say one of the greatest live albums of all time. Side Two of this album is particularly popular, and in good reason, featuring a lineup of three legendary songs being “Get Up, Stand Up”, “I Shot The Sheriff” and the track that got the biggest audience reaction, “No Woman, No Cry”.
The album right after Exodus. While it was recorded at the same time, its tone and approach are completely different to its older sibling. Rather than the serious themes that surrounded Marley’s survival of the assassination attempt in the incredibly successful Exodus, Kaya instead completely mellows itself out. This whole album is packed with lyrics about the simple things of smoking weed and having sex.
Going hand in hand with toning down its lyrics to be much more laid back, the same applied to the instrumental work as well. “It Is Love” is the standout track of this album, but the title track “Kaya” and “Satisfy My Soul” are a couple of other great listens amongst the rest of this chilled out record.
It’s hard to talk about Bob Marley for too long and not mention this album. It’s even harder to leave a definitive date on this record; while it was released in 1984, it has since been reissued several times years later. In good reason of course, this album is definitively the best-selling reggae album of all time. It compiles the very best of Bob Marley & The Wailers as well as housing it all in a gatefold sleeve which inside, features a tribute to Marley via text.
The album is not just a compilation, but a celebration of Bob Marley’s life, music and band. It is a glimpse into the past, of a legendary musician that stood up and showed the entire world his history and culture. For that alone, this album deserves the respect it has rightfully earned, even from the moment it released.
Bob Marley’s Legacy
To have left such a massive impact in his sadly short life, it’s no question that Bob Marley was and still is a legend amongst artists. He remains among the best-selling artists of all time, and in good reason. With such a healing power in his music, with a voice that says what others couldn’t and with a compassion for those around him, it’s no wonder his music has such a beautiful reputation.
New Vinyl Vinyl Records by Bob Marley & the Wailers on Life of Vinyl
Second Hand Vinyl Records by Bob Marley & the Wailers on Life of Vinyl