Looking for a list of the 10 best reggae bands? Reggae music is versatile, whether you want to kick back and relax or you have an itch to get up and move. No matter what topic they’re singing about, there always seems to be something to relate to. If you want a good list of best reggae bands to check out, be sure to give a listen to these classics. You won’t be disappointed.
- Bob Marley and the Wailers. There's no way that you can have a list of the 10 best reggae bands and not include reggae legends Bob Marley and the Wailers. Dubbed the "Jamaican Beatles" at one point, the Wailers held five consecutive top 10 chart hits in 1965. Persevering when the odds were stacked against them, they struggled through financial difficulties and even being shot by gunmen in 1976. Sadly, Marley's career was cut short when cancer stepped in, but he lives on through amazing songs like "Freedom People."
- Peter Tosh. An early member of the Wailers, Peter Tosh split off from the group in 1973, eager to pursue a solo career. His life was not an easy one; Tosh was very outspoken and was nearly beaten to death on 3 separate occasions by Jamaican police. Still, he would not be silenced and his unflinching spirit earns him a place amongst the best reggae artists of all time with great songs like "Legalize It." Tosh was assassinated at his home, in Kingston, in 1987.
- Toots and the Maytals. Skipping the bridge between ska and reggae was a favorite past time for Toots and the Maytals. Producing unmistakably great songs like "Fever" and "In the Dark," they launched a new reggae sound and inspired many young artists.
- Jimmy Cliff. Jimmy Cliff is known as one of the 10 best reggae musicians, as well as a major influence in the internationalization of Jamaican music. Flirting along the edges of R&B, classic African sounds and pure Jamaican reggae, Jimmy Cliff has been producing inspirational music since 1962. In fact, it was his song, "Vietnam," that encouraged music legend Paul Simon to travel to Kingston and try his hand at reggae.
- Burning Spear. Committed to teaching Black History and voicing his political outrage, Burning Spear (Winston Rodney) has been producing amazing reggae hits like "Peace" for more than twenty years.
- Bunny Wailer. Raised as Bob Marley's brother from the age of nine, Neville O'Reilly Livingstone (dubbed Bunny Wailer) was co-founder of the Wailers and an inspiration to many upcoming reggae artists. In 1976, Bunny released his first solo project and he's continued to kick out great music ever since (check out "Blackheart Man" if you want a great classic reggae tune). Most recently, he's been working with the dancehall crowd and trying to bring them back around to the original messages of reggae music.
- Black Uhuru. Black Uhuru has been through several different incarnations, but they remain one of the top 10 reggae bands of all time. Regardless of the changes they've undergone, they remain true to their roots and their songs are filled with a keening desire for freedom and plenty of righteous indignation. "Chill Out" is a great dance song that easily gets stuck in your head.
- Sly and Robbie. A controversial choice for the best reggae bands list, Sly and Robbie have been around since the early '70's but are best known for mixing in an electronic sound with classic reggae beats, changing the music's style and tone. Ground-breaking and different, they have produced sessions by Black Uhuru, Grace Jones and even Bob Dylan. Check out "Joyride" if you like infectious beats.
- Third World. Third World is definitely one of the top 10 reggae bands, despite having never finding success within the mainstream market. If you're looking for some great cerebral beats and a classic reggae sound, give "96 Degrees in the Shade" a listen.
- Lee "Scratch" Perry. One of the most outrageous producers and best reggae artists is the talented Lee "Scratch" Perry. Filled with great classic reggae rhythm, he can even take a song like "Yakety Yak" and make it a great reggae tune, filled with some great "bummpity riddim."
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