Bob Marley is quintessentially cool. Actually, reggae is just the coolest genre of music. If you want to get happy, jam to good reggae.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of Bob Marley – you did see “I Am Legend,” right? – but you’re likely only familiar with the tip of the iceberg. Bob Marley was incredibly prolific, having written over 230 songs before his death in 1981. And while only a small number of particularly amazing songs remain relevant in pop culture today, his greatness across 230 songs cannot be overstated.
“Bob Marley,” you might say. “He died 30 years ago, I can’t understand what he’s saying, and I don’t smoke weed. What’s the big deal?” Well, in 2000, TIME Magazine named “Exodus” the best album of the century, and BBC named “One Love” the song of the millennium. Wow. Enough said. But I’ll keep talking.
Bob Marley was more than an amazing musician. In many ways, his impact is similar, I think, to Bob Dylan’s. Both Bobs were symbols of major cultural awakenings, whose lyrics spoke intellectually and spiritually to millions of people globally. Man. People kinda make fun of the name “Bob,” but its track record is pretty damn stellar. By the way, it’s Bob Dylan’s 72nd birthday today. Happy birthday. The times, they are a-changin’, huh?
Bob Marley’s impact endures, as the popularization of reggae has spawned amazing artists like Sean Paul.
Oh, did the sarcasm make it through?
Bob Marley had twelve children, named January through December. Just kidding. He had seven sons, five of whom followed his musical tradition, and five daughters, two of whom followed in their father’s footsteps. His kids have produced a lot of good music, though in my opinion (and I haven’t listened to a lot of the Marley kids’ music) only Damian and Ziggy approach their father’s talent. I especially like Damian, who’s won three Grammys, but I hate that maybe his most popular song ever is the recent “Make it Bun Dem,” a track with Skrillex. Reggae doesn’t jive with the screeching chainsaw wreckage of Skrillex. That song is terrible.
Sean Paul and Skrillex. Let’s put them away and listen to some good music! Here’s a great dancehall remix, by Willy Williams, of one of my favorite Bob Marley songs, “Is This Love.” You’ve got to play it LOUD! Makes me want to dance. Thank God it’s Friday. By the way, the original “Is This Love” is, in my opinion, one of the best love songs of all time. Play that for somebody this weekend, please.
Oh, one of the comments on SoundCloud for the Willy Williams track perfectly captures my feelings: “Maaaaaaaaaad to raaaaaas !! god fi bless yuh willy william yu run di tchune !! mekk’ dem fi kno’.”
Here’s the original.
And here’s one of my favorite reggae tracks from recent years, Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh.” Wouldn’t be here without Bob.