June 09, 2020

Bob Marley's studio albums, ranked


June 10 marks the 40th anniversary of Uprising, the last album Bob Marley recorded before he died of cancer at 36. Its 10 songs encapsulate Marley well, ranging from stridently political tracks of social commentary (“Real Situation”) to love songs (“Could You Be Loved”) to praise for his Rastafarian religion (“Forever Loving Jah”).

Marley’s career-spanning themes of equal rights and justice for all on songs like “Blackman Redemption” and “Survival” are as relevant in 2020 as they were during his lifetime. I’ve been listening to a lot of Uprising lately, and musing on where it ranks among his studio albums. Let’s rank ’em:

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1. NATTY DREAD, 1974. Bob Marley’s first album made without long-time partners Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer inspired his best work. While party anthem “Lively Up Yourself” is a classic, it’s tracks like “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry),” “Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Road Block)” and “Revolution” that give this album the edge over the rest of Marley’s catalog.