Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roots Reggae Bob Marley and Johnny Nash

Reggae descended from Jamaica's mento dance music  and influenced by American R and B.It took root in Jamaica, then expanded to Europe, the United States, Africa and South America. Reggae has many mixes which include ska rocksteady dub dancehall and ragga.Bob Marley's was branded as roots reggae.
       Although religious themes are common in mainstream Reggae,the lyrics of Roots Reggae are predominantly in praise of Jah (God). Other song themes include poverty, resistance to oppression, African unity, black nationalism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, criticism of the political and socio-economics , and the ideals of the Rastafari lifestyle.

      The colors associated with Reggae as well as the Rastafarian movement are the colors of the Ethiopian flag red, gold and green, with a fourth color, black, sometimes added. Each color has its own significant meaning, and together they represent the Rastafari way of life. Red is for the blood of all living things, gold is for the sun and Jah's light that shines on people,green represents the Earth, and black for the African people.
     1960 Oh Carolina,by Rastafarian elder Count Ossie,is cut at Prince Buster's first-ever recording session at radio station RJR's studios.It is referred to as the

First Reggae song Oh Carolina

Bob Marley and Johnny Nash

          Bob Marley was born in a small village in Jamaica on February 6, 1945. At birth he was named Nesta Robert Marley but an official later swapped his first and middle names.
When Marley was 10 years old, his father died of a heart attack in 1955. Throughout his youth, Marley was a victim of racial prejudice because of his mixed heritage and he suffered from a racial identity crisis throughout his life.
       1963, Bob Marley formed a ska and rocksteady group with Livingston, McIntosh( Peter Tosh), Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith named The Teenagers. The group later settled on the name The Wailers. However, by 1966, The Wailers were left with just Marley, Livingston and McIntosh

      Many of Bob Marley's and Peter Tosh's songs are recognised as roots reggae. Songs  like I Shot the Sheriff, No Woman No Cry, Exodus, Could You Be Loved, Redemption Song and One Love.

      Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981.Marley's body was taken to his birthplace at Nine Mile, on the north of the island, where it now rests in a mausoleum. Bob Marley was 36-years-old.

One Love

Roots Rock Reggae

  Johnny Nash

    Born in Houston, Texas on August 19 1940. He began to have small hits in the late fifties and in 1959 had his first experience with Jamaica, filming parts of  Take A Giant Step there, when he was 19. The movie is a conventional coming of age story about Afro-American teen trying to find his way in a white-man's world.
    He then used his production skills and was in some demand as a songwriter, penning the hit What Kind of Love Is This for Joey Dee in 1962 and at this time he started his own record label Jad.His songwriting skills were heavily influenced by Sam Cooke and the following is a number 104 hit for Nash in 1962.

Some of Your Lovin Johnny Nash

    He made a return  trip  to Jamaica in 1968  to promote his music. He heard in Jamaicas laid back rhythms labeled rocksteady at the time, not yet reggae, a new foundation for his  vocals and decided to record there. Nash sought out the pioneering Byron Lee at  Kingston studios in 1968 and recorded Hold Me Tight .The song, which Nash wrote himself, hit the top five in both the United States and England.
     Nash became friends with future reggae stars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. They introduced Nash to marijuana. It was very new to me, Nash said But I was in Rome, and that was the order of the day. Nash recalled the spiritual Marley fondly. Bob was a fun guy,  he had the uncanny ability to deal with a lyric and use a double entendre. It was just so innocent. If you didnt listen closely, youd miss it. Members of Marleys band, the Wailers, served as backup musicians on a series of moderate reggae hits Nash made in Jamaica a remake of Sam Cookes Cupid hit the top ten in Britain in 1969, and in 1971 the catchy Marley-penned Stir It Up which put Nash back in the charts in the United States.A year later I Can See Clearly Now was worldwide massive hit.
He recorded several more Marley compositions after this and scored a number one hit in England in 1975 with Tears on My Pillow.
 Hold Me Tight

Stir It Up Bob Marley

I Can See Clearly Now


  1. Oh how I've enjoyed viewing the Nash and Marley videos and reading their histories. Thanks for doing this Lee. We must figure out a way to get more exposure to your blog, so that more people can become more informed of these great talents that you feature.

    I had forgotten that Bob's first name was Nesta.

    Wondering if the little boy in the red vest is Marley's son/grandson?? I've seen him in another Marley video-Waiting in Vain.

  2. He may be his son.I will investigate.Thank you Edna for all your kind words.You really know how to make someone feel good.Cheers friend!