Several things in this world put you in a good mood, one of which is reggae music.
When most people think about reggae, images of Bob Marley dancing to the beat of drums with his iconic dreadlocks and Rasta hat is all they see. But reggae music is so much more than that.
Several artists contributed to reggae and its appeal to the world, including sub-genres such as “reggae dancehall.”
February is Reggae Month, and we could all use some uplifting reggae music in our lives. If you haven’t delved into the world of reggae until now, then here are five songs worth giving a listen.
Here’s what you have been missing:
“One Love” by Bob Marley
Bob Marley is the undisputed King of Reggae and is widely known as the peace ambassador who uses his music to spread love, peace, and unity among the human race.
This iconic song is famous across the world.
The lyrics call for unity, acceptance, and of course, love among humanity.
The relaxing melody fills you with hope and joy. Bob Marley wrote this song amid the turmoil of the Jamaican elections in December 1976, which many remember as one of the most violent times in the country’s history.
The reggae legend is one of the greatest of all time.
“Cherry Oh Baby” by Eric Donaldson
If you want to express your love for a special lady in your life in a true reggae style, this is the perfect song.
This song is in a class by itself and is one of reggae’s most enduring songs. It has catchy lyrics that make you fall in love with the rhythm and the lyrics.
Cherry Oh Baby was named winner of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition in 1971.
The song has indeed found favor internationally. The Rolling Stones (on their 1976 album, Black and Blue) and UB40 (on their 1983 album, Labour of Love) have covered the song.
Cherry Oh Baby’s rhythm remains extremely popular as more than 30 cover versions have been recorded.
“Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff
Written by reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff at the age of 21 in 1961, this song fits all occasions.
The song became an international hit after the film The Harder They Come.
This legendary song has become one of the most popular reggae songs of all time. Rolling Stones ranked it No.35 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Many Rivers to Cross is also featured in the 2013 film Rush, and the TV shows Daredevil, Wilfred, and Falling Skies.
This song isn’t just a classic, but one of the best reggae songs of all time!
“Cool as a Breeze/Friday” by Chronixx
Released in 2020, Jamaican reggae artiste Chronixx’s “Cool as The Breeze/Friday” is another much-needed breath of fresh air. It is indeed a song that is cool as a breeze.
The Meji Alabi-directed visual brings the song to life, with Chronixx riding a floating couch through the streets, with him and those around him paying homage to Jamaica. He is seen performing from the rooftops before day turns to night, and the party continues.
Listening to this song will bring back memories of Jamaica with the music, party, and good vibes.
“Pressure Drop” by Toots and the Maytals
Listening to this song will awaken an irresistible urge to book a summer vacation in Jamaica. It is simply impossible not to imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach with a refreshing cocktail when it plays.
The tune is delightfully lighthearted, and the lyrics are easy to remember; listen to it once, and you’ll be humming it while doing your laundry for months on end.
Toots and the Maytals, originally called The Maytals, were a Jamaican musical group and one of the best-known ska and rocksteady vocal groups.
Ska and rocksteady were the earlier genres that later became reggae. The Maytals were formed in the early 1960s and were key figures in popularizing reggae music.
History of Reggae Music
Reggae is a popular style of Jamaican music born in the 1960s that quickly emerged as the country’s dominant music genre.
By the 1970s, it became an international style trendy in Britain, the United States, and Africa. It was widely perceived as a voice of the oppressed.
Reggae music is quite diverse and appeals to the masses. Today, reggae music has spurred the innovation of a whole new range of musical styles, like modern Jamaican dub, and has been infused into many other popular genres, like hip-hop and rap.
No matter where you are, you can find bands in every corner playing that authentic, roots reggae like it was when it started in Jamaica more than 50 years ago.
That was our list of reggae songs to listen to for Reggae Month. Let us know if we mentioned your favorite. We would love to hear your thoughts.