Here are the 10 best reggae songs of the '80s. Although the '70s are considered the reggae music heyday, the '80s had more than their share of great songs. Many of these groups, such as UB40 and Steel Pulse, acted like a sort of British reggae invasion. And let's not forget The Police, a not half bad reggae inspired group.
- "Chant A Psalm" — Steel Pulse — This is a very spiritual song. But it's sung and played with such joy, you don't have to be a Rasta to enjoy it.
- "King" — UB40 — With its dub groove, UB40 captured the state of black people in the world better than many Americans — the ones Martin Luther King rallied — could. It's a sad rumination on what — at the time — had become of a movement.
- "What Is LIfe" — Black Uhuru — So many Rasta singers come off as know-it-alls. This Black Uhuru song asks as many questions as it answers, however. It's also got a great groove.
- "Roots Radics, Rockers, Reggae" — Bunny Wailer — This track, from the album of the same name, proved that Bunny Wailer proudly carried on the tradition of The Wailers, a group he co-led along with Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.
- "Johnny B. Goode" — Peter Tosh — Folks have played fast and loose with Chuck Berry's music over the years, but few have transformed his style the way Peter Tosh did with this track. He slows it down to a chugging reggae song, complete with female backing vocals and horn blasts. If Berry had come from Kingston, chances are good he would have sounded a lot like this.
- "Night Nurse" — Gregory Isaacs — The Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs, made some of his best music in the 80's. This sexy song about, well, sex, proved just how erotic reggae can be.
- "Redemption Song" — Bob Marley & the Wailers — Sadly, we lost Bob Marley in the 80's. But not before he gave us his best acoustic ballad, "Redemption Song". This song could apply to any oppressed people group.
- "Look Who's Dancing" — Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers — Those that have seen Ziggy Marley live will tell you he's a dead ringer for his dad, Bob Marley. But you don't have to see him to know this fact. Listen to this song and hear how much he sounds like his old man. It's a great, fun song.
- "Spirits in the Material World" — The Police — By the '80s, The Police had expanded beyond just being a really good white reggae band. Nevertheless, "Spirits in the Material World" was a wonderfully expressive song, which spoke the universal language of protest.
- "Stand Down Margaret" — The English Beat — Ah, does anybody still remember Margaret Thatcher? Well, bands like The English Beat knew her and likely despised her. This song warned the iron lady to take a chill pill. Rock bands didn't like conservatives, don't ya know. It's a great reggae protest song.
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