History Of Reggae Music

by Denise Salmon
(Jamaica)

Reggae Music was born after Mento, R&B, and Ska music became less popular in the 1960's.


The change from Rock Steady to Reggae was pioneered by Jamaican musicians like Winston Wright and Jackie Mittoo with singles like "Say What You're Saying" and other music by Lee Scratch Perry in 1968.

The earliest recorded example of Reggae was a song called "Long Shot (Bus Mi Bet)" .

Reggae made it to the top of the U.S. Billboard charts in late 1972. The popular songs at that time where " Short Dog Night" and " Black and White".

The movie "The Harder They Come" starring Jimmy Cliff in 1973 introduced Reggae music to people outside of Jamaica and Reggae have been able to remain popular across many geographic boundaries for all these years.

Bob Marley and the Wailers are also credited in taking Reggae Music and its message across the globe.

The intoxicating beat and the wonderful lyrics and social commentary preaching love,social justice and equality made Reggae famous.

This has inspired the rise of many new artistes across the globe.

However recently some Reggae artistes have been criticized and branded as been homophobic by the gay community primarily in the UK and Canada. That is because of the lyrical content of some of their songs.

Through the recent years though, local artistes such as Sean Paul, Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley (Bob Marley's son) and Shaggy been been doing great songs and they have become Reggae stars in many countries.

Some female artists have been able to rise up become stars in their own right in this male dominated music business too. Marcia Griffiths, Lady Saw, Patra, Macka Diamond, Alain, and Cecille are just a few.

Reggae is also experiencing much change today though.There is what is now known as 'Vintage Reggae' and 'DanceHall Reggae'. Reggae is also mixed with Hip Hop and R&B today.

We hope these changes will not dilute the real purpose and message of the good 'ole' reggae music.

See also Rythm Of Reggae Music

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