The 27 Greatest Reggae Songs of All Time (All Time Hits) - Music Grotto (2023)

Reggae music is one of the most innovative, interesting and creative types of music out there.

The genre itself seems to have no borders or boundaries, and reggae music is often very imaginative, imaginative, and spiritual.

Choosing the top 27 reggae songs is difficult because there are so many wonderful Jamaican artists and songs. We hope you like it.

1) One Love - Bob Marley and The Wailers

Bob Marley - One Love

Bob Marley is arguably the king of reggae, and his title is well deserved. Marley's uncanny ability to churn out mega-hit after mega-hit popularized reggae to the masses. During his short life he managed to unite people through his music and will always be remembered as a singer with great soul, compassion and hope for humanity.

No wonder "One Love" tops our list of the 27 greatest reggae songs. The upbeat melody and peaceful, offbeat lyrics make it easy to lose yourself in this reggae music. So simple that many listeners often miss the deeper meaning behind the lyrics.

While the chorus of "One Love" speaks of peace on earth, Marley also warns of profound punishments for others who cause pain and suffering.

"One Love" stormed the UK charts and sums up what it means to make good reggae music.

Next:The greatest reggae artists of all time.

2) Legalize - Peter Tosh

Peter Tosh - Legalizalo

Released in 1976, "Legalize It" seamlessly blended pop and reggae influences to create this mellow yet political song. The song "Legalize It" comes from the album of the same name and is the first album Tosh has released since leaving The Wailers.

As the album's producer, Tosh created all aspects of the sound and wanted it to be a political statement against the brutal brutality of Jamaican police. Although the song contains political elements, the melody itself is peaceful, relaxing and incredibly catchy.

Tosh demonstrates his ability to create an entertaining musical experience while conveying a strong political point of view. All in all, "Legalize It" is a phenomenal reggae song that undoubtedly deserves its spot on our list of the 27 Greatest Reggae Songs.

Consider the following:The best instrumental songs of all time

3) The tide is high - The models

The Paragons - "The Tide Is High" (Audio officiel)

While most music lovers will recognize this luscious Blondie tune that made the song popular in the 1980s, it was reggae band The Paragons who first created this song in 1966.

Reggae singer-songwriter John Holt originally wrote this song. She then performed the song along with The Paragons on their album On The Beach With The Paragons.

This catchy song caught the attention of bands other than Blondie; Atomic Kitten and Debbie Harry also performed their own versions of The Tide Is High. However, the original will always be the best as it is rooted in authentic reggae music.

4) Bam Bam – Hermana Nancy

Bam Bam - Hermana Nancy

(Video) Koffee - Toast (Official Video)

If you know anything about Jamaican or reggae music, you've probably heard Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam." Released on his album One, Two, "Bam Bam" is so famous that despite its release over thirty years ago, it still appears today. Artists like Jay Z and Kanye West tried this smooth music in their hop hop songs.

Sister Nancy originally released the song in 1982 and it was produced by Winston Riley. Ina recent interviewIn 2017, Sister Nancy recalled that "Bam Bam" was an afterthought, only used to close the album. Luckily it happened! "Bam Bam" is a catchy tune that will be remembered for many years to come.

5) The Three Little Birds - Bob Marley and the Weeping

Perhaps one of Bob Marley's most famous songs, "Three Little Birds" had a major impact on Western music. "Three Little Birds" was recorded in 1977 and released on the Exodus album.

Many Marley fans are wondering what the three little birds mean. According to one of Marley's closest friends, Marley was inspired by the wildlife that surrounded his home. Of this wildlife, three birds perched on Marley's window every morning, which inspired enough Marley to write a song about them.

The song was a mega hit and reached the top 20 of the UK charts. Its impact can still be felt today as many musicians continue to cover and love this beloved song since its release almost 40 years ago.

6) I shot the sheriff - Bob Marley and the Wailers

Bob Marley - I Shot the Sheriff (Studio Version)

And another Bob Marley And The Wailers song makes our list with the classic "I Shot The Sheriff." If you're surprised, you shouldn't be: Bob Marley and The Wailers dominated the reggae genre and showcased their musical prowess for decades.

The Wailers released "I Shot The Sheriff" in 1975, and as the title suggests, the song has a political undertone. After the song gained popularity,

Marley said the song is about justice and that the sheriff represents the police. It's an inside joke because Jamaica doesn't have a sheriff's station, so saying the sheriff was shot is a great solution to implying that he shot the police without the gang offending anyone.

7) Hold me tight - Johnny Nash

Johnny Nash - Hold Me Right (HD)

If you've never heard of Nash's name, you probably know some of his songs. He is best known for his 1972 hit "I Can See Clearly Now."

But Nash's musical genius isn't defined by this song. His other hit, Hold Me Tight, was released from the 1968 album of the same name. "Hold Me Tight" really launched his career, climbing to the top of the Canadian, US and UK charts.

"Hold Me Tight" also peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Top 100 Singles of 1968. Nash served as producer on the hit, along with Arthur Jenkins, who also arranged the song.

8) I have to go home - Bob Andy

Bob Andy - I have to go home

(Video) Rebelution - "Roots Reggae Music" - Live at Red Rocks

Solo star Bob Andy burst onto the music scene in the mid-1960s with his famous reggae hit "I've Got to Go Back Home," a song that became an anthem for Jamaicans.

Andy began learning from the best as an apprentice with musical powerhouse The Paragons. He worked with the band for many years and is the mastermind behind other big hits like the number one reggae hit "Love At Last".

9) Many rivers to cross - Jimmy Cliff

Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers To Cross (On-Screen-Text)

Many Rivers To Cross is one of those foundational reggae songs that has been admired by many musicians since its inception in the 1960s. In fact, several major artists have covered the iconic song, including John Lennon, Cher, and Annie Lennox.

Many Rivers To Cross was originally written by Jimmy Cliff, who wrote the song out of frustration at breaking into the UK music scene. He faced many difficulties as a young artist in the UK and vented his frustrations through his music.

And it was worth it. The song itself became so iconic and immoral that Rolling Stone magazine listed it as part of its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

10) Now we have found love - third world

Now that we've found love - Third World

Like many other popular reggae songs, reggae band Third World's "Now We Found Love" aimed to spread their message of equal love through music.

As you might have guessed, "Now We've Found Love" is about love, acceptance and universal companionship. After Third World released this song, they gained a huge following and became particularly popular in the UK.

11) Talk about love - Pat Kelly

Pat Kelly - Talk About Love

"Talk About Love" is a song that was released a little later than the most popular reggae songs on this list since it was released in 2000 from the album "Vintage Series".

Although he sadly passed away in 2019, Kelly was a force in the music industry. In the early 1960s, he shaped big hits like "Talk About Love" and the fan favorite "How Long". He also joined a rock group called The Techniques in the late '60s and early '70s, where he sang many of their biggest hits.

12) How could I go? – Denis Brown

Brown's reggae hit "How Could I Leave?" released in 1992 from a live album entitled "Live in Montego Bay". is just one of many reggae hits that earned him the crown prince of reggae, none other than rock legend Bob Marley.

Brown was incredibly productive; He has recorded over 75 reggae albums. He first jumped onto the reggae scene in the 70's and produced hit after hit over the following decades.

13) Redemption Song - Bob Marley and the Wailers

Bob Marley & The Wailers - Redemption-Song

Recorded late in Bob Marley's life, "Redemption Song" is one of the most popular reggae songs Bob Marley ever wrote. It's a simple song, one that's just Marley and hisguitar.

However, its complexity comes from the rich, deep lyrics and the message behind the words. The music embodies the feeling of freedom and spreads a message of freedom and emancipation. This is really agreat song about freedom.

(Video) Peter Andre - Mysterious Girl (Official Music Video)

The song was released in 1980 and was an instant hit. It was also one of the last songs Marley recorded before his death.

The "Redemption Song" is still used today for political activism and to help those who stand up in difficult situations.

Consider the following:The best guitar songs of all time.

14) Stealing Love – Carlene Davis

Produced by Willie Lindo in 1981, "Stealing Love" by Carlene Davis is a smooth, melodic reggae song from the album Big People Music, Vol. 3.

Passionate, sensitive, and filled with the distinctive reggae tunes we know and love, "Stealing Love" is an extraordinary piece of music created by an extraordinary musician.

15) Mr. Boombastic - Sausage

Certainly more inclined towards fusion reggae than strict reggae, “Mr. Boombastic was critically acclaimed upon its release in 1995.

Written by Shaggy, the Jamaican musician gained worldwide recognition as the song was a huge commercial success in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. The track samples Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and was considered a masterpiece by critics around the world.

16) Satta Massa Gana - Abyssinian Bones

Abyssinian Bones - Satta Massagana

The Abyssinians released "Satta Massa Gana" in 1976 and sent shockwaves through the music industry, earning the Abyssinians worldwide recognition.

The song has been covered by many great artists over the years and is undoubtedly their greatest achievement. It has been adopted by some religious groups for use as a hymn during worship. Which makes sense since the song's translation is "He Gave Praise" and it has deep spiritual roots.

17) Pity Johnny – The raincoats

Produced by Byron Lee, The Slickers released a major reggae hit, "Johnny Too Bad," which propelled them into the reggae music spotlight in the '60s and '70s.

The Slickers consisted of Crooks brothers Winston Bailey and Abraham Green, who together created Johnny Too Bad. After gaining popularity with some of their singles, The Slickers toured the US and UK throughout the 1970s, where they eventually recorded another album entitleddiscovery.

18) About Carolina – Zottelig

Shaggy makes our list again with his song "O Carolina," a dancehall-esque reworking of a classic Jamaican folk song. Based on the 1959 ska song Carolina, "O Carolina" was an acclaimed hit, so much so that the song was nominated for a British Music Award and at times peaked at number 1 in the UK.

"O Carolina" comes from the Silver album and was released in 1993. It's a reggae hit for all music lovers.

19) A place called Africa - Junior Byles

Junior Byles - A Place Called Africa - (Beat Down Babylon)

Like all art, the best kind of music comes from a personal place where the artist writes something from the heart that many can relate to.

A Place Called Africa is no exception. As the story goes, Byles one day asked his mother why they lived in Jamaica with so much suffering and prejudice instead of in Africa, where they came from.

A little personal story, Byles wrote this song while struggling with his roots and trying to understand why he and his family were suffering in Jamaica when they could have been in Africa. He connected with listeners by incorporating his pain into the lyrics and the music itself, making it a top notch reggae hit.more family songsCheck out our top list now!

20) Innocent Blood - Culture

The hugely successful singing group Culture rose to fame in 1977 with their impressive ability to sing serious songs in a way that uplifted and empowered listeners. His song "Innocent Blood" is no exception.

A lesson in black history, Jamaican history, slavery and imperialism, Culture sings this reggae song in a fun and uplifting way.

21) Black Woman – Judy Mowatt

This 80's reggae hit is performed by none other than Judy Mowatt, one of Bob Marley's I-Threes (Showgirlsfor Bob Marley) and member of the band The Gaylettes from the 1960s.

Mowatt serenades listeners with her luscious, soulful voice, singing about female empowerment and how the world tends to be anti-Black women.

It's not all desperation: Mowatt has a unique ability to illuminate fights but also put a positive spin on them, which is why "Black Woman" resonates with so many listeners.

Like most songs, "Black Woman" has a strong gospel tone that creates a powerful, overwhelming vibe that encapsulates what it means to empower people through music. Mowatt is indeed a powerful and impressive singer.

Next:The best gospel songs of all time.

(Video) Whitney Houston - Greatest Love Of All (Official 4K Video)

22) Better must come - Delroy Wilson

Wilson is a soulful and powerful singer of Jamaican and reggae music. His career has spanned an impressive four decades, producing hit after hit, most notably the song "Better Must Come."

The song, released in 1972, is a hymn of hope. He encourages listeners and challenges them to overcome obstacles in order to emerge victorious on the other side.

This track differs from most of her other works, which generally focus on love and romance. He spices things up with "Better Must Come," shifting the focus to a more political and powerful message that proves just as effective as his other songs.

23) Cute and Elegant - Toots and Maytal

There's more to Jamaica than conflict and injustice, and Toots And Maytal set out to write a song depicting everyday life in Jamaica. They wanted to make music that represented everyday life, sweet moments, marriage.

And that's exactly what they did. In their 1969 song "Sweet and Dandy," Toots and the Maytals sing about a beautiful marriage they shared. From wedding cakes to wedding themes and vows, it's all here at Sweet and Dandy. If you feel like you need a reggae song to cheer you up, give it a try! Without a doubt, "Sweet and Dandy" is one of the best love songs ever.

24) Cops and Robbers - Junior Murvin

[1976] Junior Murvin • Cop and Robber

As you can imagine, "Police and Thieves" is one songCrime in Jamaica. However, it is a unique song as it presents both sides in the light of two sides of the same coin. The song eventually became a mega hit in London and became a riot anthem during London's Notting Hill Carnival.

25) Lover of Champion - Debroahe Glasgow

If you love reggae music fullyfemale empowerment, desire and passion, 'Champion Lover' by Debroahe Glasgow is the song for you.

As it turns out, many music fans fell in love with this song as it was a huge hit when it burst onto the music scene in 1989. It was remade a few years later and became a second hit, but you just can't top the original with all of that: her female fame, her female lust, and her female passion.

26) Man with a Black Heart – Bunny Wailer

Bunny Wailer released his reggae hit "Blackheart Man" in 1976, which became an instant classic. The song, which has a smooth, folksy melody, had the crowd swooning and propelled Wailer into musical genius territory. But the song resonated with audiences for reasons other than its beautiful melody.

The song also describes what it was like growing up in Jamaica with dreadlocks, where he and other children were told to avoid them due to their religious beliefs.

In "Blackheart Man," Wailer reflects on the situation with empathy and grace, and how he now identifies with some of these Rasta beliefs. If you're looking for a smooth reggae song with commentary on an interesting Jamaican religious dynamic, give this song a listen!

27) Word of the Farmer - Gregory Isaacs

Another song that focuses on slavery, Isaacs paints a picture of a man working the land, leading his master to reap all the fruits of his labors.

Exciting, moving and moving, this 1978 song understands the true suffering of slavery and seeks to share that experience with its listeners. Although music can be difficult to listen to, it is extremely important and worth listening to.

final thoughts

It's impossible to sum up the entire reggae music genre and gather the hundreds of great songs in a list of the top 27. However, these songs listed above are shocking, insightful, uplifting and fun. The genre itself has so many timeless classics that touch the listener's heart and deliver powerful messages that seek to bring about change and prosperity for all. This really gives reggae a unique and warm feel to the attentive listener, making the genre truly beautiful in many ways. Hopefully this list offers a broad and diverse spectrum of what it means to be an exceptional piece of reggae music.

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Liam Flynn(Editor-in-Chief and Author)

As senior editor and writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content created by professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other collaborators to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also a founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate about bringing editorial content to his readers.

(Video) The Coconut Song - (Da Coconut Nut)

Liam's lifelong love of music is what makes his role in Grotto of Music so enriching. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.


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1) Bob Marley

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Dennis Brown
Dennis Brown CD
Birth nameDennis Emmanuel Brown
Also known asThe Crown Prince of Reggae
Born1 February 1957 Kingston, Jamaica
Died1 July 1999 (aged 42) Kingston, Jamaica
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5 more rows

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23 more rows

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Beyonce, “Break My Soul”

Who is the King of Reggae of all time? ›

Jamaican musician Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley, would have been 74 years old today, February 6. Thirty-eight years after he died of skin cancer, he, however, remains wildly celebrated as one of those who popularised reggae or for some, as the 'King of Reggae'.


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