Let’s make one thing clear from the outset. Like Michael Jackson is the king of pop, like Elvis Presley is the king of rock, like the notorious B.I.G is the king of rap; there is no doubt that Bob Marley is the king of reggae. Yet we all know that Michael Jackson was not the only great pop artist, Elvis Presley was not the only great rock and roll performer and the Notorious B.I.G was not the only great rapper. Why is it then, that in 2015 we continue to act like Bob Marley was the only great reggae artist?
Next month will be another reggae month and all you will hear is “Bob Marley, Bob Marley”. Have we forgotten the great contributions to the genre from people like Desmond Dekker, Alton Ellis, Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, just to name a few? In fact, wasn’t it Desmond Dekker who had the first big hit outside of Jamaica to pave the way for Bob Marley?
Marley’s greatness cannot be denied. Time magazine rightfully calls him the “greatest artist of the 21st century. However, let there be no doubt that reggae has numerous other great artists. Today I was in a reggae/dancehall forum and a poster made the following comment: “There will never be another reggae singer as great as Dennis Emmanuel brown”. Now am not here to start comparing Dennis Brown to Bob Marley because Capleton already told us that, “Music is a mission not a competition”. There should be no doubt, however, that Dennis Brown deserves the same level of respect as Bob Marley for his work in reggae music.
The Jamaican Gleaner should be ashamed of themselves. Follow them every reggae month and every article they publish will have to do with Bob. I would have no problem with that if it was called “Bob Marley Month” but it is called reggae month. So let’s honor all our great reggae artists not just the king. If you ask the Jamaican Gleaner to list their top five reggae artists of all time, their list would show Bob Marley 5 times.
On the other hand, my top five list would look like this:
- Alton Ellis
- Peter Tosh
- Dennis Brown
- Bob Marley
What would your top 5 reggae artists list look like?