The Ten Greatest Reggae Artists of All Time.

Greatest reggae artists of all time
Greatest reggae artists of all time

Below is our list of the 10 greatest reggae artists of all time.

10. Garnet Silk
Had Silk not died at such a young age (28), he probably would have ranked higher amongst the greats, maybe even in the top 5. The Rastafarian artist was known for his diverse, emotive, powerful and smooth voice. During the early 1990s he was hailed as the next great talent to come out of Jamaica, however, his career was cut short by his early death.

9. Gregory Isaacs
Gregory’s moniker “The Cool Ruler” says about all you need to know about the man and his music. The New York Times referred to Gregory Isaacs as the most exquisite voice in Reggae Music.


8. Jimmy Cliff
Jimmy Cliff was the first and original pioneer to take Reggae music to all corners of the earth. He did this with the soundtrack to the movie “The harder they come”. Jimmy Cliff is the only living musician to hold the Order of Merit, the highest honor that can be granted by the Jamaican government for achievements in the arts and sciences.

7. Desmond Dekker
Desmond Dekker the king of ska is the first Jamaican artist to get a major international hit with his song “Israelites”. Other hits include “007 (Shanty Town)” (1967), “It Mek” (1969) and “You Can Get It If You Really Want” (1970).

6. Beres Hammond
When it comes to love songs, Beres Hammond is quite arguably the greatest talent Jamaica has ever known. Beres Hammond who has been awarded the Order of Jamaica (OJ) is known for his beautiful and soulful voice. While his career began in the 1970s, he reached his greatest success in the 1990s.

5. Dennis Brown
Known as the crown prince of reggae, Dennis Brown as influenced more reggae artists than anyone with the exception of Sizzla.

4. Bob Marley
He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time and credited with popularizing reggae music around the world, as well as serving as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. Marley has also evolved into a global symbol, which has been endlessly merchandised through a variety of mediums. Marley was also awarded the Order of Merit (OM) by the Jamaican Government.

3. Alton Ellis
Many reggae personnel and publications consider Alton Ellis the greatest sing to ever come out of Jamaica. Ellis is one of the innovators of rocksteady and was given the title “Godfather of Rocksteady”. He was awarded the Order of Distinction (OD) by the Jamaican government and in 2006 he was inducted into the International Reggae and World Music Awards Hall Of Fame.

2. Peter Tosh
The Stepping Razor as he was also know is arguably the most militant reggae artist with only Sizzla or Capleton coming close. Peter Tosh never compromised his beliefs and what he stood for and is militancy can be heard in much of his hot songs like “Equal rights”, “Stepping Razor” and “Mystery Babylon”. Peter Tosh was awarded the Order of Merit (OM) by the Jamaican Government.

1. Sizzla
Sizzla is the most influential artist in reggae music ever. If you listen to any roots artist that came after Sizzla, you will hear his influence in their music. Sizzla is also undoubtedly the greatest songwriter Jamaica has ever produced. Critics argue that with over 100 hundred albums, Sizzla records way too much. Out of this 100 albums, however, are countless classic and hit songs. Some of his albums are also reggae classics, like “Black Woman and Child”, “Praise ye Jah” and “Da real ting”.

Let us know if you agree with our greatest reggae artists of all time. Is there any artist in the top 10 that don’t belong there? Are there any artist not on the list but should be there?

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22 Comments

  1. There is so many greats so its difficult to single out only 10, but some that made me fall in love with reggae music 35-40 years ago was: Burning spear, culture, The gladiators, ijahman levi, Black uhuru, The congos,Prince far I, U-roy, I-roy, Big youth, israel vibration, .. Golden age stuff, after all i was 12 in 78`when reggae hit me.

  2. And i need to add that black uhurus album “red” with sly&robbie probably is some of the best and most timeless music ever made. “Sinsemillia” was also a great album that was kinda telling us what to expect, but “red” sounds exactly as fresh and as it could be a new release today 35 years after its release in 1981.If only those two albums counted i would put black uhuru at #1.

  3. I think joseph”culture”hill is missing in the top ten and i don’t think sizzla is number one but thats my opinion i know is difficult to make a top 10 that holds every ones aprovement butt thanks for letting us know what a gwan generaly

    • YOU always mention sizzla and capleton,sometimes your point dont hold,you are wrong if you say sizzla is the most influential reggae artist that we have ever had,by the way each one is entitled to his opinion.that does not make your opinion right

  4. Where is Joseph Hill? Joseph Hill and Burning spear make up reggae! Wea z Israel vibration? Bob also influenced Reggae n Rasta culture than anyone so he should rate at No. 1

  5. I think Joseph hill of culture :cocoa tea n burning spear are missing in your list. …i guess the too deserve

  6. Sizzla’s presence on the list is a big joke. What criteria were u using to have those people ahead of Great Bob Nesta Marley. Anyway, this is just one of those so many personal lists. Everybody has their own.

  7. This is absolutely nonsense bob marley is the most influenced reggae artist of all time one love means alot to the world who is siszla mtcheeew bob no1 tosh no2 Dennis no3 dekker no4 Gregory no5 spear no6 Ellis no7 rose no8 buju banton no9 luck dube no10

  8. This is absolutely nonsense bob marley is the most influenced reggae artist of all time both in Jamaica and in Africa one love means alot to the world who is siszla mtcheeew bob no1 tosh no2 Dennis no3 dekker no4 Gregory no5 spear no6 Ellis no7 rose no8 buju banton no9 luck dube no10

  9. to me marley is always number one the rest can follow up,culture.peter tosh.don carlos .sizzla.black uhuru.burning spear.lucky dube.and many others

  10. Remember Bob Marley is the first ever superstar from 3rd world country to shoot the whole world. That on its own put him at no.1 forever. You don’t have to have so many albums like Sizzla who does not even deserve to be on this list after all. Sizzla is even way below than Ziggy Marley. Burning Spear is one of the greatest living legend whose shows are always sold out. He should be on the list. I think Mutabaruka, Culture, Bunny Wailer, are also missing.

  11. I am living in the USA and I have been playing Bob Marleys song “Bad Card for the past few weeks – Pre and post election! Crazy Ballheads is a must for Donald Trump and the Alt Right also. I do not want to take anything away from sizzla, but to place him above Bob Marley on a list of the greatest ahead of Bob, is ridiculously nuts! Bob’s music is timeless and will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. “I want to turn up my disco and blow them to full watts…..!

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