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The 100 Best Bob Marley Songs

Massive hits, deep cuts, live highlights, and obscure gems from the global reggae icon

In the 1981 Rolling Stone obituary, Bob Marley biographer Timothy White wrote, “The pervasive image of Bob Marley is that of a gleeful Rasta with a croissant-sized spliff clenched in his teeth, stoned silly and without a care in the world. But, in fact, he was a man with deep religious and political sentiments who rose from destitution to become one of the most influential music figures in the last 20 years.”

Make that 56 years. Marley’s stature and influence as a singer, songwriter, and international pop-culture prophet have only grown since those words were written. He is a cornerstone of 21st-century music, covered by countless singers, sampled and quoted by just as many hip-hop acts whose artistic DNA is shaped profoundly by the Jamaican music Marley defined. His artistic fearlessness and social commitment remain an inspiration to activists, musical and otherwise. His songs of freedom have become universal hymns.

Rolling Stone originally published our list of Marley’s 50 greatest songs in 2014. Now, we’re updating it to 100 songs, including deep cuts, live highlights and other completist gems.

“Marley sang about tyranny and anger, about brutality and apocalypse, in enticing tones, not dissonant ones,” Mikal Gilmore wrote in 2005. “His melodies take up a resonance in our minds, in our lives, and that can provide admission to the songs’ meanings… He was the master of mellifluent insurgency.”

Those melodies sing on.

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