Some of Reggae’s Most Famous Musicians

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Bob Marley

Bob Marley is the most famous reggae musician and gave the genre the fame that propelled it to the global audiences. He and his band, The Wailers, recorded the best selling reggae album of all times, and Marley himself is part of the group of the world’s best-selling musicians, having sold more than 75 million records. Bob Marley became famous for his lyrics that have political messages about equality, human rights and freedom. Being of African heritage, Marley was deeply connected to his roots and advocated for Pan Africanism and against imperialism. Bob Marley is also one of the most famous advocates for the legalization of Marijuana. His legacy is carried on by his music and the many musicians he influenced all around the world. What is more, Bob Marley is a brand of its own, because his imagery sells anything from clothing apparel to mobile covers to sports shoes, but despite the commercialization of his image his political messages continue to inspire people and his music is often played at parties and on the radio.

Peter Tosh

Being one of Bob Marley’s Wailers, Tosh gathered all the reggae knowledge and went on to become a reggae performer himself. He rode on the popularity of his former band, but also had a strong charisma that captured the attention of the music audience around the world. Being orphaned by his parents, he overcame the difficulties and engaged in music that included ska, rocksteady and reggae. Tosh started his solo career with performing a number of collaborations. He co-wrote the hit song Get Up, Stand Up and made music with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Tosh also advocated legalization of Marijuana, which landed him in trouble. Following a concert in Kingston, he was apprehended by the police and beaten, most likely because he insulted some high ranking Jamaican politicians during a previous performance. He went on an anti-apartheid tour and performed songs like Equal Rights, Fight On, and Apartheid.

Lee Scratch Perry

Scratch Perry is one of the most famous reggae musicians and has pioneered dub music as its own style. He worked at a record and musical equipment store and later at a production studio, and that is where he built his foundations as a musician and producer. Lee Scratch Perry would go on to produce scores of music and collaborations with famous bands and musicians. His Black Ark studio drew the likes of Bob Marley, Junior Byles, the Heptones, Max Romeo and many other reggae, ska and rocksteady musicians and their bands. Perry produced many songs that became famous in their own right, besides producing his own songs and reworks. After moving to the United States and living for a period in the United Kingdom, Perry returned to making music after a hiatus which followed his burning of the Black Ark studio. In 2003 Perry was awarded a Grammy for his album Jamaican E.T. and since then, continued to participate on collaborations with the Beastie Boys, Andrew W.K., Moby, Don Fleming and other instrumentalists.