Song of the Day #5,088: ‘Natural Mystic’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

Yesterday’s album, Bob Marley’s 13th, wraps up my deep dive into the catalog of one of popular music’s most inspirational talents. Marley defined an entire musical genre, crafted songs recognized all over the world, and spread a message of love, peace and social justice during a career that spanned little more than a decade.

It’s hard to imagine what the Bob Marley legacy would look like if he wasn’t taken away at just 36 years old. Consider the wealth of material he would have created over the last 40 years, and the impact he would have had on the world, culturally and politically.

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Song of the Day #5,087: ‘Buffalo Soldier’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

1980’s Uprising was the last album Bob Marley recorded and released before his death, but it wasn’t the final Bob Marley and the Wailers’ release. That distinction goes to Confrontation, a collection released two years after his death.

Confrontation‘s tracklist is compiled of unreleased tracks from later in Marley’s career, including some demos that were given fuller production and new backing vocals. As such, it’s hard to consider it a true Bob Marley album.

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Song of the Day #5,086: ‘Could You Be Loved’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

Bob Marley and the Wailer’s run of 11 albums in 11 years culminated with 1980’s Uprising, the last work they would record before Marley’s death.

Marley was sick with cancer when writing and recording this album, and the songs’ focus on spirituality and salvation feels appropriate for his final musical statement. But it isn’t a somber album. The band goes to exciting new places musically here, including the disco stylings of ‘Could You Be Loved,’ one of their biggest hits.

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Song of the Day #5,085: ‘Survival’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

After 1978’s Kaya eschewed political songs, Bob Marley swung in the opposite direction on his next release, 1979’s Survival. Perhaps it was a reaction to the criticism he received for not taking advantage of his platform on the previous album.

If so, that’s a shame. Can’t a man just make music without having to serve as a spiritual and political leader? Marley certainly made good use of his influence in those arenas throughout his career. The man should be able to take a break.

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