Reggae’s Popularity

You cannot talk about reggae without talking about one of the greatest artist of all time Bob Marley. It should be considered a crime to not mention Bob Marley when talking about reggae. It would be like talking about rock and roll without mentioning Elvis Presley. “In parts of Africa and Brazil, reggae is actually displacing native music. Reggae is probably the only music not of European or American origin which can be heard in every country on earth, and is arguably the first example in modern times of a third world country exporting its culture to such a diverse audience.” (2) The original Reggae has become one the biggest sources of income in Jamaica and was a true inspiration to the people that lived in Jamaica. You can see there are plenty of bands that tried to emulate the style of reggae in their songs as they were released during the time of Bob Marley and his influence was all over the world. Bob Marley will never just be a singer/songwriter in the eyes of the Jamaican people and the true believers of reggae. He was also a prophet to many and an advocate for peace not just for Jamaica, but the whole world.

You can see the effects of reggae that seem to spread all over the world as historical. A lot of these references are connected to Bob Marley since he is one of the artist that helped spread the influence worldwide. The authors state that Marley’s songs were not just listened to because they were good, but they were used by people because they were inspired by his rhythm and lyrics. An important point to take away from this is you cannot have reggae without having inspiration. “Reggae has provided musical inspiration for many third world liberation movements. Bob Marley was an honored’ musical guest at Zimbabwe’s 1980 Independence celebrations because of the inspiration his music had given to freedom fighters in the bush. Chinese students used The Waiters’ ‘Get Up Stand Up’ as their marching song in the 1989 Tienanmen Square demonstrations. In the Nicaraguan civil war Marley’s music was immensely popular with both ‘Contras’ and ‘Sandinistas’ each side saw itself as fighting oppression. When the Berlin Wall fell, celebrants stood on the remains singing Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ for hours.” (3) Bob Marley is the king of reggae, because no other reggae artist never even came close to his popularity and use of his specific reggae. He is the key component of reggae without him it could have taken years before reggae became a worldwide phenomenon. Bob Marley would eventually pass on in 1981 because of cancer that was found in his toe. His dying words to his son Ziggy were “”Money can’t buy life.” Ziggy along with the ten other children that Bob Marley was the father of would eventually continue their Father’s legacy with becoming music artists in their own right. It would be interesting to see what Bob Marley thinks of what reggae and it’s transition to dance hall today.

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