by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – It’s fast approaching February 6, Bob Marley’s birthday, and the usual flood of stories about the Jamaican superstar are being prepared. Just days before 2020 closes, he is closing in on another milestone.
Legend, the mega-selling album containing some of his greatest hit songs, is set to end the year by topping Billboard Magazine’s Reggae Albums Chart for 52 weeks.
Last week was its 50th straight in pole position.
That’s not bad going for a guy who once proclaimed, “Dem a guh tired fi si mi face” (from his song Bad Card). Legend was released in May, 1984, three years after Marley’s death from cancer at age 36.
The first edition of Legend was released on vinyl by Island Records and contained 14 songs including No Woman No Cry, Get Up Stand Up, Waiting in Vain, Three Little Birds, Redemption Song, Jamming, Buffalo Soldier, I Shot The Sheriff, Exodus and Could You be Loved.
Over the years, the album has been reissued in different formats including compact disc and streaming. In September as Legend made its way up multiple Billboard charts, Dean Michaels wrote on djrobblog.com why the set has endured, selling over 33 million copies worldwide.
“Legend is one of those greatest hits albums that works as a stand-alone view of an artist despite its flaws. It compares with Greatest Hits albums by Simon & Garfunkel and Sly & the Family Stone in that regard. In all those cases, the albums superficially show the listener what he or she need to know about the respective artists. They are such great listens that one is loathed to explore the artists’ catalogues further although the original source albums offer a rich listening experience on their own,” he wrote.
Marley would have turned 76 in February. Other compilation albums of his songs made the Billboard tables, outselling hip dancehall acts like Koffee and Popcaan.
This year, his grandson Skip Marley also made the Billboard charts with the songs, Slow Down (with H.E.R.) and Make me Feel (alongside Rick Ross and Ari Lennox).
Interestingly, Skip and The Wailers, Marley’s band, are nominated for Best Reggae Album at next month’s Grammy Awards for Higher Place and One World, respectively.