Here is a list of the 10 best reggae songs of all time. The first person most people think about when you mention reggae music is the late Bob Marley, a towering figure in the genre whose legacy is still felt by diverse musicians today. With that in mind, it's easy to see why a list of the best reggae songs of all time would feature multiple singles by Bob Marley, but contain a few other surprises as well.
- "Redemption Song" – Released in 1980 as a single from Bob Marley's album "Uprising", this emotive, sorrowful ballad features just Marley's voice and a guitar, without any accompanying instruments. It's the power of Marley's vocals in this song about the redemptive power of self-belief that definitively makes this one of the ten best reggae songs of all time, voted 66th in Rolling Stone's poll of the 500 greatest songs in history.
- "The Harder They Come" Jimmy Cliff recorded this 1972 song for a film of the same name, and the defiant lyrics about standing against life's challenges resonate today and make it one of the most well-known and best reggae songs of all time..
- "Get Up, Stand Up" – This 1973 classic written by Bob Marley and soon-to-be rival, Peter Tosh, is an anthem to people around the world not to give in to tyranny and oppression. Its war-like refrain and bouncy beat still evokes pride and resilience in listeners.
- "Red, Red Wine" – Originally a 1968 Neil Diamond single, this song was famously covered by reggae band UB40 in 1983, and became a party standard, beloved for its infectious reggae grooves and good-time vibe.
- "Equal Rights" – Peter Tosh's 1977 song from the album of the same name, captured the frustrations and desires of oppressed people everywhere and became a rallying cry for the disenfranchised. With its thumping bassline and driving beats, the song is surprisingly uptempo and ranks as one of the 10 greatest reggae songs of all time.
- "I Can See Clearly Now"- Singer Johnny Nash's 1972 release about seeing the world with clarity and optimism, hit number one on the Billboard chart in November of 1972 and remained there for four weeks. A reggae classic that's been covered by many artists including such diverse talents as Willie Nelson and Sonny and Cher.
- "Message In A Bottle" – The Police were one of the greatest bands in music history, and this 1979 release is one of their seminal songs, driven by a heavy reggae beat and powered by lead singer Sting's soulful vocals about a castaway sending out a message in a bottle, seeking love and later turning his back on that hope only to wake up one day to find a hundred billion bottles just like his, washed up on the shore. The song is not only one of the ten best reggae songs of all time, it's one of the greatest songs written in the past 25 years.
- "No Woman No Cry" – Released on the 1974 album "Natty Dread", this is one of Bob Marley's most famous songs, and the chorus remains etched in our minds long after the lyrics have faded.
- "One Love" – Another Bob Marley classic, this song was released in 1977 and immediately made an impact with its clarion call for the world to end conflict and give thanks to God. In 2001, the BBC named this single the song of the millennium.
- "You Can Get It If You Really Want" – This 1972 Jimmy Cliff song was also included on soundtrack for the film "The Harder They Come", and its propulsive, uptempo beats and hopeful lyrics about striving for change, rank it as one of the ten greatest reggae songs of all time.
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