Bob Marley ‘Legend’ album back at No. 1 as sales surge during pandemic
Marley’s discography has seen a spike in streams during the lockdown. In the first three months of the year, Marley reportedly accumulated over 1 billion streams around the world. Globally, his streaming numbers surged up 23.2% in April. Songs like “Burnin’ & Looting” and “War” resonate with the current racial unrest and social injustices prominent today.
His music champions for social justice, a seemingly dystopian goal of the African American community for centuries. It is so relevant now in the continued fight for racial equality and may be the reason for the surge.
Marley’s timeless music has historically been a place of solace for people around the world, especially during times of civil unrest. His records are known for being laced with conscious messages surrounding spirituality and morality and social and political satire.
In “I Shot The Sheriff” from 1976, Bob takes justice into his own hands against authorities. Its symbolism is not lost on the current prevalence of police brutality in the United States and other parts of the world. “Sheriff” was a metaphor for wickedness and can be interchanged with any oppression you’re facing at the time.
In “War” from 1976 quoting the great Haile Selassie I, Marley sings:
“Until the philosophy which holds one race / Superior and another Inferior / Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned / Everywhere is war / Me say war”
“That until there are no longer / First-class and second-class citizens of any nation / Until the color of a man’s skin / Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes / Me say war / That until the basic human rights / Are equally guaranteed to all / Without regard to race / Dis a war”
Marley’s music has always spoken to us in a way that makes us want to change ourselves and the world. It brings comfort but challenges us to see things as they really are and to take action, which keeps his music, though timeless, also relevant today most of all.
Almost 40 years after his death, his albums are chart-toppers on Billboard. His album Legend is the second longest-charting album in chart history coming in at No. 37 this week on the Billboard 200 in its 630th week on the tally.
Currently, an extension of that record, Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley And The Wailers, is sitting comfortably in the coveted No. 1 spot on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart for 23 consecutive weeks.
And it couldn’t be more fitting during the year-long celebration to mark the 75th anniversary of the singer’s birthday. He was a man of the people and sang for the people and left behind a legacy that continues to astound generation after generation. He spoke out for justice, racial equality, and championed for “one love” and unity. Amid the political and racial tensions in the world today, it’s no wonder his music has had a huge boost in streams considering its authenticity and social awareness.