It is near-impossible to not know who Bob Marley is if you are a teenager or older on planet Earth in this century.
As exaggerated as it sounds, it is not as ridiculous as making the opposite argument with a straight face. The man died four decades ago but he continues to epitomize a music genre, a way of life and political philosophy.
Robert Nesta Marley would be 75 today if he had not passed away, sadly to skin cancer, in 1981. He was widely known before his death but posthumously, he has only gotten bigger.
It is fair to say that Marley has gotten bigger because reggae music itself has. He was a pioneer of the genre and obviously, reggae music’s favorite poster man.
But not all reggae music is created equally. And that is where Bob Marley stands out.
Over a career that was about two-decades-long, Marley’s ability to produce thought-provoking and touching songs in stylistically terse compositions was bound to be noticed.
Whether with the Wailers or alone, Marley’s themes were regular – anti-European colonialism, love for humanity, personal struggles, poverty, etc.
For obvious reasons, Redemption Song is quite popular with Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. But Marley’s variety also gave songs whose lessons for us are not outdated.
As follows are four of such songs. If there is one that you think should have made the cut, it only points to the richness of the gifts Marley left us.