Marley, the lover…not the fighter Image

by Biko Kennedy

The portrayal of Bob Marley as a singer of love songs has never really been properly documented, or has he been given due recognition by musicologists and music historians for his work in that area.

Marley has, almost invariably, been depicted as the ultimate revolutionary - the man whose musical lyrics provide solace, comfort and hope for the downtrodden.

Songs like, Redemption Song, Blackman's Redemption, We and Them, Who The Cap Fit, Get Up, Stand Up, Survival and Babylon System, conveyed the message of hope that triggered the resilience that many needed to survive.

At the international level, songs like Revolution, from the album Natty Dread; War from the album, Rastaman Vibration; Africa Unite and Zimbabwe from the album Survival, provided guidance to world leaders in efforts geared towards the dismantling of apartheid, and general equality and justice for all.

But Marley's very first recording, titled Judge Not, a solo piece, backed by the Drumbago All Stars, for producer Leslie Kong's Beverley's label, although not a hit at the time, should not be taken too lightly in these deliberations.

It may very well be the first and most important indication of the direction in which he was heading;

With so much emphasis being placed on the serious side of Bob Marley's life - his revolutionary songs, his workaholic character and his meticulousness, the lighter side may easily have been sidelined.

This side included numerous love songs with deep emotional content.

I'm still Waiting, performed with the Wailing Wailers in the early 1960s, for producer Clement Dodd, was perhaps the earliest. Just listen to his confession;

Lonesome Feeling, for the same producer, was the No. 11 song in 1965. In it, Marley seemed heartbroken as he sang along with the Wailers:

Other romantic recordings that Marley did during the ska era included Love and Affection, Just Another Dance, How Many Times, Love Won't Be Mine, and I don't Need Your Love, all for Studio One.

The album Exodus, voted, the album of the century, contained two of Marley's most romantic efforts. In track two on side two,Waiting in Vein, his patience seemed to have been tested to the limit when he laments his love and affection while in track 3, Turn Your Lights Down Low, Marley's romantic urgings soars to new heights.

Kaya, the album of love songs, contains Is This Love and the tearjerker She's Gone. From the album Rastaman Vibration, comes the cut Cry To Me - a call for a cheater to face retribution.

*****Original article from the Gleaner:

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