Bob Marley is considered as one of the legendary pioneers of reggae. The Jamaican musician, along with his band The Wailers, incorporate his distinct voice other styles such as ska and rocksteady. He is a pop culture icon for introducing Jamaican music worldwide. Here are some of his most memorable songs:
The term is derived from the name supposedly given by Native Americans to black soldiers during the Indian Wars. “Buffalo Soldier” eventually became the term when referring to African American soldiers in the US Army. Marley likened the fight of a buffalo soldier to that of surviving in general.
Could You Be Loved
While on a plane, Bob Marley’s band The Wailers were experimenting on guitar riffs and created this song. Most reggae fans see this song as leaning more towards disco than reggae. On top of that, it is said to also inspire the dancehall genre.
Get Up Stand Up
Bob Marley wrote this song when he saw the poverty of the people in Haiti while he was on tour there. The song encourages everyone to “look for yours on earth” and try to live big. He wants people to get up, stand up, and fight to have enough. In most of his concerts, “Get Up, Stand Up” is usually the last song. This was also the last song he performed on September 23, 1980.
I Shot the Sheriff
The song is about a character who was accused of shooting the deputy but admits killing the sheriff. Marley wanted to sing “I Shot the Police” but that would obviously cause controversy. His main message was that it was about justice. Another interpretation goes that Marley shot the reason (sheriff) why the man was angry but not the man (the deputy) himself.
Is This Love?
Many fans thought that this song, as well as other tracks in the Kaya album, made Bob Marley “soft.” That is most likely due to the carefree and summer vibe of the tracklist. The reggae legend dedicated this song to his wife Alpharita Constantia “Rita” Marley.
In Jamaican, the term refers to “getting together for a celebration.” One of the lyrics in the song goes “no bullet can stop us now.” This is in reference to when Marley was shot by unknown perpetrators who invaded his home on December 3, 1976. “Jamming” is about celebrating success after a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
No Woman No Cry
This song is about telling a woman to look at the positive things in life. Marley credited childhood Vincent Ford as co-writer of the song. Ford was able to continue running his soup kitchen in Jamaica thanks to the reggae legend and the royalties from the track.
Marley was already diagnosed with cancer when he wrote this deeply contemplative song. The lyrics were said to be inspired by “The Work That Has Been Done,” a speech of Pan-Africanist speaker Marcus Garvey. The music, on the other hand, was similar to that of Bob Dylan’s.
Three Little Birds
Many dispute the true meaning of the song. Some say it was about Bob Marley’s bird pets while some say it was about three female singers he worked with. However, many agree that the lyrics of the song is about remaining positivity despite hardships.
Waiting in Vain
Many rumors claim that Bob Marley dedicated this song to Cindy Breakspeare, mother of Damian Marley. It is about a lover’s frustration with having to wait for their partner’s love. It is also about not knowing whether the romance will actually work.