How Many Times Has A Reggae Song Been Covered?

Reggae songs typically begin with an introduction known as “riddim”. This musical intro establishes rhythm and groove that will serve as the cornerstone for an entire tune.

Desmond Dekker’s “Israelites” may have brought to light Jamaican poverty more directly, yet never has its suffering been presented so cheerfully and joyously in song form.

The Tide Is High

A fun and catchy song to help us overcome obstacles, this classic reggae tune from 1967 by Jamaican band The Paragons’ John Holt has become one of the best-known reggae tracks ever. While initially unnoticed until being covered by Blondie in 1980 – and becoming both UK and US number ones. They even recorded a video for it – something which remains relevant today!

This song’s lyrics celebrate the joy that comes from discovering love, often used to refer to a past partner or to describe a current one. Reggae’s positive message can be easily found when combined with dancehall rhythms like this song does.

This romantic reggae song should be on everyone’s playlist! Boris Gardiner’s vocals are mesmerizing and captivating; his words alternate between being spoken out loud and being scatted aloud. This track showcases dancehall culture from the 1980s era; in 1994 even pop singer UB40 covered this track!

Though originally released as a hit single, The Tide is High would likely have faded from our memories without its association with the tragic Flo-rida incident of 1983, caused by rival radio stations clashing over listenership rights and ultimately leading to over 50 people dying as a result of it. Since then, its chorus ode to love and friendship has become a worldwide hit covered by artists including Gregory Isaacs and Kardinal Offishall who featured it prominently on Better Call Saul as well as radio station Hot 97 on regular rotation!

I’m Not For Sale

Written by Bob Marley and Perry, this anti-colonialist call to freedom song serves as an anti-colonialist rally cry. Utilizing imagery of trees and their roots as metaphors to urge listeners to stand up for what they believe in and fight for what they want – which it did worldwide; also making the track an popular reggae dance track thanks to its energetic rhythms and upbeat tone.

Marley and his band recorded this funky tune during Kingston’s violent period that resulted in the formation of the IRA, as a tribute to their hard-hit Trench Town neighborhood. Set to a reggae beat, this track showcases Bunny Wailer’s haunting harmonies as well as Roots Radics’ interweaved guitar work. Not only was this track an international hit; today it remains one of the most recognizable Jamaican songs.

UB40’s reggae version of Mac Davis’ classic 1980 hit will surely get you up and dancing, inspiring a joyful, upbeat tune that encourages listeners to shine bright and be happy.

Gwen Stefani and her lover Bobby (referred to in the song’s lyrics ) wrote this uplifting reggae song as an ode to music making and it proved immensely popular. Vocal harmonies from both artists combined with its seductive reggae beat make this an excellent love song; additionally it showcases both of their impressive musical skills: singing/rhyming vocals along with DJ-style hooks make up their impressive musical repertoire.

Satta Massagana

This song by The Abyssinians from 1976 became an instant classic roots reggae album. It depicts Jamaican struggles and their hopes for success while at the same time serving as prayer for some Rastafarian groups. Furthermore, its distinctive skank guitar rhythm makes this track one of its defining elements in reggae music.

Inner Circle’s sensual reggae song, translated to mean sexual content, became a massive global hit and has been streamed over 598 million times on YouTube alone, which shows its wide appeal. Furthermore, this track pioneered digital dubbing for reggae music.

Reggae music has long been recognized for its social criticism and religious commentary in its lyrics, often speaking out about injustice faced by minority populations like African-Americans and others. But reggae also provides an outlet to explore more personal concerns, like love or socializing.

One of the most controversial reggae songs ever created and released by Buju Banton in 1994 is “Murderer”, recorded and released under his stage name Buju. The song addresses two close friends being murdered with guns, condemning gun violence. This song marks Buju’s transition from being an arrogant dancehall star into becoming a conscientious reggae singer.

Reggae music has made an indelible mark on Africa and is now a widespread form of musical expression there. In Uganda specifically, Papa Cidy has become one of the country’s best-known reggae singers while various religious groups in Uganda have integrated rhythms and drumbeats from reggae into their hymns as part of religious rituals.

One In Ten

One powerful protest song from reggae music that speaks directly to social issues is “One in Ten” by UB40 from 1981, released as an anti-immigration anthem and still being performed today. Featuring its chugging guitar rhythm, quarter note bass beat, syncopated chord progression and mournful sax riff it has become one of the signature sounds associated with reggae music.

Ken Boothe’s powerfully direct song, “I’m Not For Sale”, takes slavery to an entirely different level. Inspired by wealthy visitors looking for sexual encounters with poor Jamaicans, “I’m Not For Sale” counteracts those who would exploit others based on sexual desires alone – its message resonating worldwide.

Reggae music may often be perceived by Western audiences as sexual and provocative; however, its romanticism should not be overlooked. Dobby Dobson first sang this story of ghetto passion back in 1967 before Gregory Isaacs transformed it with soulful elements in 1973 and Shabba Ranks added dancehall flair in 1989.

Major-record label executives attempted to popularize dancehall reggae in the United States during the early ’90s through pairing Jamaican toasters and American rappers together, including Super Cat and Heavy D’s energetic collaboration as an excellent example of how two worlds can meet to produce something magical.

Reggae music has also made its way into popular music, such as The Beatles’ 1969 hit “She Loves You”, a Jamaican folk-rock song about Jamaica and its people with its distinctive melodic sleng teng bass line and characteristic steel drum licks.


iTunes downloads can provide an indication of a reggae song’s widespread popularity and appreciation among an extensive audience, while at the same time reflecting its continued relevance in today’s musical landscape despite newer forms of expression.

Israelites is a classic reggae song by Desmond Dekker & the Aces that draws inspiration from Jamaica’s socio-economic issues. Dekker’s patois lyrics conveyed Jamaican people’s dire conditions at that time; further, its title alludes to Biblical Israelites’ oppression by enemies, suggesting Jamaicans are like them in terms of poverty and oppression.

It marked a landmark moment in the evolution of reggae music, reaching number one on UK charts for an instant hit song and becoming internationally acclaimed, setting an example for other artists who would come after.

“No Woman No Cry” has been streamed over 579 Million times on Spotify – an outstanding achievement in reggae music history and evidence of its continued appeal and impact across a broader musical landscape. This astounding figure illustrates its popularity and power.

Reggae music continues to gain worldwide acclaim, with festivals drawing audiences from all around the world. Europe hosts Uppsala Reggae Festival which draws crowds from Sweden and Scandinavia; Summerjam and Rototom Sunsplash each draw hundreds of thousands; while in America Reggae on the River draws top international acts and is widely available through platforms such as Spotify – Bob Marley makes use of these platforms himself!