Tunes Du Jour Presents Bob Marley

Bob Marley was more than just a musician. He was a cultural icon, a spiritual leader, and a voice for the oppressed. His songs of peace, love, and justice resonated with millions of people around the world, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists and activists.

Bob Marley was born in 1945 in Jamaica. He grew up in poverty and faced discrimination for being mixed-race, but he found solace and joy in music. He started his career in the early 1960s, forming a group called The Wailers with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Marley and The Wailers achieved international fame in the 1970s, after signing with Island Records and touring extensively. Their albums, such as Catch a Fire, Burnin’, Natty Dread, and Exodus, are considered classics of the reggae genre, and feature some of Marley’s most beloved songs, such as “No Woman, No Cry”, “Jamming”, “Exodus”, and “Is This Love.”

Bob Marley used his music as a platform to address the issues that affected his people and the world, such as poverty, oppression, racism, violence, and corruption. He also advocated for peace, unity, and human rights, and supported various causes and movements, such as the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the empowerment of the Jamaican people.

Some of his songs, such as “Get Up Stand Up”, “Redemption Song”, “War”, and “Zimbabwe,” are anthems of protest and liberation, and have been adopted by many social movements and campaigns. Marley also participated in several concerts and events that aimed to promote peace and justice, such as the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, where he famously joined the hands of the rival Jamaican political leaders Michael Manley and Edward Seaga, and the Zimbabwe Independence Celebrations in 1980, where he performed for the newly freed nation.

Bob Marley died in 1981, at the age of 36, after a long battle with cancer. He left behind a legacy of music and humanity that transcends borders, cultures, and generations. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential musicians of all time, and has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions, such as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Order of Merit of Jamaica. He is also a symbol of Jamaican identity and culture, and a global icon of peace and love.

Bob Marley’s music and message continue to live and grow, and to touch the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. His songs are timeless and universal, and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their age, background, or taste. His songs are also a source of inspiration and motivation. As he once said, “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

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Throwback Thursday: 1980

Nineteen eighty wasn’t a game changing year on the US pop chart. It wasn’t 1964. It wasn’t 1991. For the most part it was music business as usual. The death of disco was greatly exaggerated. Just ask any member of Lipps, Inc., should you have any idea what any member of Lipps, Inc. looks like. Seventies hit makers stayed on the charts. Paul McCartney. Diana Ross. Stevie Wonder. Barbra Streisand. The Captain & Tennille did it to us one more time, it meaning having a hit single. A few outsiders snuck into the top 40 with sounds unlike the rest – Devo hit with “Whip It,” Gary Numan with “Cars,” and The Vapors with “Turning Japanese.” In the coming years more such weirdos would make their presence known.

While many of 1980’s hits were great singles, many classics were born outside of the mainstream. Releases such as Bob Marley & the Wailers’ “Redemption Song,” Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Peter Gabriel’s “Biko,” Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” and Funky 4 + 1’s “That’s the Joint” are often referred to as classics these days. In 1980, not a single one of them troubled the US Hot 100. Change was on its way. In 1980, rap wasn’t a fixture on the top 40, though its influence was heard in Queen’s #1 smash “Another One Bites the Dust.” The next few years saw #1 hits from Peter Gabriel, Prince, David Bowie and a rap song, plus a top ten reggae song.

Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist shines a spotlight on 1980.

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A Bob Marley Playlist

If you have only one reggae album in your music collection, there’s a very good chance it’s Legend by Bob Marley & the Wailers. It’s the best-selling reggae title of all-time. In the US it’s only the second album to spend more than 500 weeks on Billboard’s weekly Top 200 album chart. (The first to pass that milestone was Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.) These accomplishments are all the more astounding when one considers that Legend is a greatest hits album consisting of 14 songs, none of which ever cracked the Billboard Hot 100 singles survey.

When deciding what songs should go on Legend, compiler Dave Robinson was determined to expand Bob Marley’s renown. Stateside Marley (b. February 6, 1945) wasn’t a very big seller. Robinson figured that many people were turned off by the subject matter of some of Marley’s compositions, so he nixed the songs about herb. He nixed the songs about slavery. He toned down the presence of violence and the odes to Jah and Rastafarianism. He carefully selected a non-threatening photo for the album cover. He remade Bob Marley’s persona into one of an upbeat spiritual man spreading love and positive vibes, which was but one aspect of his artistry. On top of that, the word “reggae” was not used in advertisements created for the collection. It was genre-less music designed to be listened to by everyone.

I don’t point out the whitewashing of Marley as a put down. Quite the contrary, actually. There are useful marketing lessons here. Legend, released in 1984, three years after Marley’s death from cancer at age 36, brought millions of consumers to reggae music. And the songs on the album are great.

The songs on Legend make up a large part of today’s Bob Marley playlist. There are a lot more songs for further exploration.

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