Five Reggae Legends Named in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Greatest Singers List

by Howard Campbell


Five reggae legends are named in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 200 Greatest Singers of All Time. The tally was published on January 1.

Dennis Brown, the Crown Prince of Reggae, is best of the quintet at number 67. Luciano is named at 143, Barrington Levy comes in at 119, Bob Marley at 98 and Toots Hibbert at 94.

Dennis Brown, Barrington Levy, Bob Marley, Toots Hibbert on Rolling Stones Greatest Singers List
Dennis Brown and Barrington Levy

The reviewers gave Brown — who died in 1999 at age 42 — high marks.

Dennis Brown was a child star — his first hit, 1969’s No Man Is an Island, came at age nine — who matured into homegrown superstar. With a voice as tough-yet-velvety as suede, he was one of Jamaica’s smoothest love men ever, not to mention a dispense of homespun wisdom on the immortal 1981 hit Sitting and Watching. Even in his later years, when his voice showed the ravages of prolonged cocaine use (he died at age 42), Brown’s soulfulness was unimpeachable — no less an authority than Bob Marley once declared Brown his favourite reggae singer.”

Brown’s countless hits also include Money in my Pocket, Westbound Train, Love Has Found Its Way and Revolution.

Bob Marley

Marley, acknowledged globally as the king of reggae, died from cancer at age 36 in 1981. His songs, which include One Love, Rastaman Vibration and Exodus, are still resonant.

Toots Hibbert

Toots was the best touring reggae act at the time of his death in 2020 at age 77. 54-46, Monkey Man and Funky Kingston are some of the double Grammy winner’s anthems.

Barrington Levy

Levy, now 58, emerged as a teenaged singer in the late 1970s. Songs like Under mi Sensi and Here I Come earned him a lasting following in Europe while collaborations with rappers introduced Levy to an hip hop audience.


Luciano,  the self-proclaimed Messenger,  is known for spiritual songs like It’s me Again Jah and Sweep Over my Soul.

Soul legend Aretha Franklin topped the table, followed by Whitney Houston at number two and Sam Cooke at three.

Other heavyweights like Al Green, Otis Redding,  Ray Charles and Beyonce made the Top 10. Marvin Gaye, Prince and Freddie Mercury are in the Top 20.


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