Burning Spear

Marcus Garvey

Composed by Winston Rodney

Song Review by

In 1975, Burning Spear severed their relationship with producer Coxsone Dodd and linked up with Jack Ruby. Ruby owned the Ochos Rios sound system, and Spear's first cut, "Marcus Garvey," was intended exclusively for system play. Winston Rodney was born in St. Ann's Bay, also home to Garvey himself. Founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Society, a pioneering organization in its day, Garvey advocated a program of black self-improvement and repatriation to Africa. An eloquent speaker, his fiery speeches were equalled by his actions, especially in regards in setting up numerous black-run businesses. Although his reputation has faded amongst Afro-Americans, he remains revered in Jamaica, and over time, his words have taken on the aura of prophesy. It is the prophetic Garvey that Spear pays homage to, quoting this great philosopher and leader in a sublime convergence of sufferer's song and call to betterment. In one swoop, the group combines reverence, a melancholy aura, and a militant message, backed by a sublime arrangement that itself punctuates the hope and despair of the song. The public's reaction to "Marcus Garvey" was so overwhelming that Ruby quickly released the song as a single. The song would also title Spear's new album, which appeared later that year.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
This Is Reggae Music, Vol. 2 1975
Various Artists
Mango 3:44
Harder Than the Best 1979 Universal 3:26
Reggae Greats 1984 Mango 3:23
Groove Yard [Mango] 1989
Various Artists
Mango 3:44
Marcus Garvey/Garvey's Ghost 1990 Mango 3:26
The Original Burning Spear 1992 Sonic / Sonic 3:14
The Story of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than Tough 1993
Various Artists
Mango 3:24
Chant Down Babylon: The Island Anthology 1996 Island / Universal Island Records 3:26
R.O.R.X.: 10th Annual Reggae on the Rocks 1997
Various Artists
What Are Records? 5:11
No Image 1997
Various Artists
What Are Records? 5:11
Reggae Roots - 1972-1995, Vol. 5 1999
Various Artists
Island / PolyGram / Universal / Universal-Island Records 3:27
Classic Reggae: The Universal Masters Collection 2000
Various Artists
Polygram / Island / Universal 3:25
Roots Reggae Essentials 2000
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:24
Ultimate Collection 2001 Hip-O 3:28
The Reggae Box 2001
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:25
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of Burning Spear 2002 Island 3:24
Ultimate Reggae 2003
Various Artists
Universal / UTV 3:23
Jah No Dead: An Introduction to Burning Spear 2003 Fontana / Hip-O 3:20
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Reggae 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 3:22
Best Reggae Album in the World...Ever! 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
This Is Reggae Music: The Golden Era 1960-1975 2004
Various Artists
Trojan
No Image 2005 Island / Universal 3:29
Central Park Summerstage: Live from the Heart of the City 2005
Various Artists
Circular Moves 6:01
Super Reggae Hits Box 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
(A)Live in Concert 2006 Burning Music 4:59
100 Hits: Reggae 2006
Various Artists
DMG 100 3:23
Made in Jamaica [Universal/CCM] 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 3:21
War Ina Babylon: An Island Reggae Anthology 2009
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 3:28
Island 50 Reggae 2009
Various Artists
Island 3:28
Rastafari Live 2010 Hudson / Hudson Street / Street
Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music 2012
Various Artists
VP Records 3:25
Mt. Zion: Music From & Inspired By The Motion Picture 2013
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:21
Island Presents: Roots 2014
Various Artists
Island / Spectrum Music 3:22
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 3:26
Latest & Greatest Reggae Party
Various Artists
USM Media
Mojo Presents: Sun Is Shining
Various Artists
Mojo Music (Independent) 3:22
Punky Reggae Selecta
Various Artists
Universal
Reggae: From the MusicVaultz
Various Artists
Universal 3:27
The Reggae Album
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:27
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