Bob Marley
Catch a Fire

Reggae

Reggae is a music unique to Jamiaca, but it ironically has its roots in New Orleans R&B. Reggae's direct forefather is ska, an uptempo, rhythmic variation based on the New Orleans R&B Jamaican musicians heard broadcast from the US on their transistor radios. Relying on skittering guitar and syncopated rhythms, ska was their interpretation of R&B and it was quite popular in the early '60s. However, during one very hot summer, it was too hot to either play or dance to ska, so the beat was slowed down and reggae was born. Since then, reggae has proven to be as versatile as the blues, as it lends itself to a number of interpretations, from the melodic rock steady of Alton Ellis and the rock and folk-influenced songwriting of Bob Marley to the trippy, near-psychedelic soundscapes of dub artists like Lee "Scratch" Perry. It has crossed into the mainstream through the bright, bouncy "reggae sunsplash" festivals and pop-oriented bands like UB40, but more adventurous reggae artists, such as Marley and Perry, have influenced countless reggae, folk, rock and dance artists. Their contributions resonate throughout popular music.

Reggae Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Get Up Stand Up Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers
Funky Kingston Toots & the Maytals
Sitting & Watching
Sly & Robbie
Marcus Garvey Burning Spear
Legalize It Peter Tosh
You Can Get It If You Really Want Jimmy Cliff
Israelites Desmond Dekker & the Aces
Africa Dennis Brown
War Ina Babylon Max Romeo
Wake the Town U-Roy
I Shot the Sheriff The Wailers
Bredda Gravalicious The Wailing Souls
King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown Augustus Pablo
Mad Over Me Yellowman
Tide Is High The Paragons / U-Roy
Many Rivers to Cross Jimmy Cliff
Wonderful World, Beautiful People Jimmy Cliff
Pressure Drop Toots & the Maytals
Exodus Bob Marley & the Wailers
Mr. Loverman Shabba Ranks
Train to Skaville The Ethiopians
Buy Out the Bar Sugar Minott
Bogle Buju Banton
Al Capone Prince Buster
Push Come to Shove Freddie McGregor
What'cha Gonna Do? Peter Tosh
Police & Thieves Junior Murvin
Sinsemilla Black Uhuru
Trench Town Rock Bob Marley & the Wailers
No Woman No Cry Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers
Redemption Song Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers
Is This Love Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers
Boombastic Shaggy
Could You Be Loved Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers
Tomorrow People Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers
Westbound Train Dennis Brown
The Killer Big Youth
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Black Uhuru
Solidarity Black Uhuru
Ain't That Loving You Dennis Brown
Black Wadada Burning Spear
007 (Shanty Town) Desmond Dekker & the Aces
Bad Boys Inner Circle
Fresh Air
Mad Professor
African Herbsman Bob Marley & the Wailers
One Love Bob Marley & the Wailers
Ting-A-Ling Shabba Ranks
Runaway Girl U-Roy
Natty Don't Fear U-Roy
Row Fisherman Row The Wailing Souls

Reggae subgenres and styles