Bob Marley / Natural Mystic 1970 - 1980


1970 - 1976


1 Duppy Conqueror / Jamaican Single A Side December 1970

2 Soul Rebel / Soul Rebels December 1970

3 Concrete Jungle / Jamaican Single A Side June 1971

4 African Herbsman / African Herbsman August 1972

5 Sun Is Shining / African Herbsman August 1972

6 Slave Driver / Catch A Fire April 1973

7 Stir It Up / Catch A Fire April 1973

8 Kinky Reggae / Catch A Fire April 1973

9 Get Up, Stand Up / Burnin’ November 1973

10 I Shot The Sheriff / Burnin’ November 1973

11 Small Axe / Burnin’ November 1973

12 Lively Up Yourself / Natty Dread May 1975

13 Them Belly Full / Natty Dread May 1975

14 Rebel Music / Natty Dread May 1975

15 Natty Dread / Natty Dread May 1975

16 Trenchtown Rock / Live! December 1975

17 No Woman No Cry / Live! December 1975

18 Crazy Baldhead / Rastaman Vibration April 1976

19 War / Rastaman Vibration April 1976

20 Rat Race / Rastaman Vibration April 1976


1977 - 1980


1 Natural Mystic / Exodus May 1977

2 The Heathen / Exodus May 1977

3 Exodus / Exodus May 1977

4 Waiting In Vain / Exodus May 1977

5 Punky Reggae Party / [12” Version] Single B Side December 1977

6 Kaya / Kaya March 1978

7 Satisfy My Soul / Kaya March 1978

8 Running Away / Kaya March 1978

9 Smile Jamaica / Single B Side May 1978

10 Blackman Redemption / Jamaican Single A Side July 1978

10 Positive Vibration / Babylon By Bus December 1978

11 Ambush In The Night / Survival October 1979

12 One Drop / Survival October 1979

14 So Much Trouble In The World / Survival October 1979

15 Chant Down Babylon / Unreleased Recording February 1980

17 Coming In From The Cold / Uprising June 1980

18 Forever Loving Jah / Uprising June 1980

19 Redemption Song / Uprising June 1980


   Bob Marley was a man of many faces, a third world visionary and first world pop star, a prophet of national revolution and messenger of global peace, a Rasta mystic and lascivious lover. At least, that is the popular view, but the world only really knew Bob Marley from the release of Rastaman Vibration in 1976, his first UK top 20 and his first US top 10. For the next five years he would tour the world and live life as one of the rock elite before his death on 11th May 1981 at the too early age of 36. Much of how he is remembered comes from those final years. These days Bob Marley is almost universally loved. But it wasn’t always so.

   It was Chris Blackwell’s Island Records that finally broke The Wailers Internationally although the trio of Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone already had a recording history stretching back to mid sixties ska. After numerous false starts and record labels, by the early seventies they were big news in Jamaica but still had to cross the gaping cultural and musical divide to reach the world stage. Blackwell’s plan was to promote The Wailers as a rock group, which meant starting from scratch in Britain and America. Island immediately pulled out all the stops, sweetening Catch A Fire with rock guitar and packaging the album in a nifty, flip top Zippo sleeve design. At 13 years old, I fell for it big time. And yet ironically, it was the tougher, more authentic and militant follow up Burnin’ that made The Wailers first serious dent in the rock market place. And when guitar God Eric Clapton covered ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, they finally had the seal of approval from the rock elite.

   The final piece in the jigsaw came from potential disaster when Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone returned to Jamaica. They were replaced by The I Three’s, Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt, but for the first time Bob Marley became the sole centre of attention. Natty Dread was effectively his first solo album, but it was Live! recorded at the London Lyceum in July 1975 that established his reputation as a spiritual figurehead and third world icon. Rastaman Vibration duly became his first US top ten four months later and from that moment, the worldwide creation of ‘Bob Marley – Legend’ began in earnest, aided and abetted by his Rastafarian beliefs, his ten children from eight women, an assassination attempt that forced him to abandon Jamaica for London, the mammoth success of Exodus, his mediation between Jamaica’s political rivals, and finally his slow death from cancer.

   Looking back, whether you like them or not, Bob Marley’s Island albums do represent an astonishing achievement. In most modern music, romance is dying, politics is fatal and God is most definitely dead. But Bob Marley covered them all - the sexual, the political, the spiritual. He took Jamaica’s mixed up history, a jumble of such disparate concepts as Rastafari, Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, rebellion, herb and Trenchtown, and rebuilt them into intricate, focused music, concerned with reality but touched by magic.

   Bob Marley was not the best singer to come out of Jamaica and was an average guitarist at best, yet none of that mattered as he dared to make music of depth, expanding reggaes musical and commercial borders while never forgetting where he came from. Because of that, his music still resonates. Once shunned by suspicious blacks, and held at arms length by prejudiced whites, he is now embraced across the globe. Bob Marley has become that poet, that prophet and that legend.


February 2009