Though Bob Marley’s reliance on a misguided religion ended up costing his own life, he did have some very big ideas and he also seemed to have a big heart. He was responsible for bringing Jamaica’s music to the world, and his influence on so many pop and rock groups are so understated. He also followed the Biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply” considering that he had a minimum of 13 known children (he claimed one of the girls as his own daughter though he was not the biological father). These are my favorite Bob Marley songs for their musical and aesthetic value.
#5. Three Little Birds – This great song was featured in the movie “I Am Legend“, which was perfect because it is a song of hope in the middle of a bleak end of world scenario. I am sure part of the reason for the song was that Three Little Birds was included in a posthumous greatest hits album “Legend“.
#4. Turn Your Lights Down Low – It was remade into a hit single by Lauryn Hill (probably her biggest hit) with Bob Marley’s vocals from the original on it. I love the original best. It definitely has an Eric Clapton feel to it, and it was not really a reggae song, but more of a pop/rock song.
#3. One Love – This has to be the most recognizable and popular song Bob Marley wrote and performed, thanks now in part to the Jamaica tourism commercials. I love the message of peace and unity and salvation in this song.
#2. No Woman, No Cry – I know the grammar is not correct, but that’s not so bad because the tune is so good. A couple of the things I really like about this song is the Hammond B-3 which underlies the song from start to finish, and the choral sound of the audience and back up vocals singing along.
#1. Iron, Lion, Zion – Released over 10 years after his death, 18 years after it was recorded, this song is just cool. I like the driving rhythm and the emotional aspect of the melody and chord progression.
OK, so here is the part where you tell me that I’m right and I say thanks, or you say I should have included all these other songs, and then comes the part where I tell you that you are wrong.