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Marley still relevant in death - Artistes, industry insiders still believe reggae icon has much to give

Published:Wednesday | February 6, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Bob Marley
Chevaughn Clayton

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

More than 30 years since his death and Bob Marley's relevance and legacy is undeniable, locally and abroad.

With Marley's birthday being celebrated today, executive director and vice-chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), Charles Campbell, says he is still the most famous Jamaican. His relevance will also be shown at this evening's Reggae Month activity, Reggae Wednesdays at Emancipation Park, New Kingston. The theme of this staging will be 'Mento to Marley'.

"Bob Marley should have long been a national hero. He is still the most famous Jamaican ever. People who know nothing about Jamaica know about Bob. He is not just a local hero, he is an international icon," Campbell told The Gleaner.

He noted that the lyrics of One Love are still very appropriate for today's society.

"One Love is so applicable to us in Jamaica today. If we could just get our act together, we would be a world force to be reckoned with. We have to educate our children as to the positive impact that his lyrics have had all over the world. That might even influence the type of music that the younger generation perform and listen to."

Some of Marley's more popular songs include No Woman, No Cry, Could You Be Loved, Stir It Up, Get Up Stand Up, Jamming, Redemption Song and One Love.

In 1994, Bob Marley was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in December of 1999 his 1977 album Exodus was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine, while One Love was designated Song of the Millennium by the BBC.

Since its release in 1984, Marley's Legend compilation has annually sold over 250,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and it is only the 17th album to exceed sales of 10 million copies since SoundScan began its tabulations in 1991. Marley was also bestowed with The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.


Chevaughn Clayton, a member of the C-Sharp Band, says Marley has been, and continues to be, an influence for many persons.

"Bob is, has been and will always be a great influence to many Jamaican musicians. Not just through his popularity, but him representing the music and bringing Jamaica and reggae music to the forefront of the world. He is always an influence, always a great inspiration," he said.

And he is not just an inspiration for singers, as deejay Spice says his relevance is immeasurable.

"I think he is extremely relevant. He is the man that put Jamaica on the map. He has been gone for over 30 years and he is still bringing tourists to Jamaica, so he is still very relevant," she said of Marley, who passed away on May 11, 1981.

Producer Shane Brown, who is also the manager of Busy Signal, says Marley's music has "paved the way for a lot of us with his authentic reggae music. Some of Bob Marley's songs sound as modern as a lot of recent songs and a lot of young artistes remake or perform his songs".

According to Brown, he was singing with a message that also remains relevant.

"If we were to follow some of the messages, we wouldn't have some of the crime and violence that we have today," he told The Gleaner.