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Bob Marley and The Wailers

For marketing purposes, Bob Marley, the Wailers, and Bob Marley & the Wailers have become interchangeable names,usedindiscriminately to refer torecordings actually made by separate entities. So, it is worth recalling the distinctions that existed atthe times these entities performed and recorded.The Wailers, formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1963, was a vocal group consistingof Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Bunny Livingston, Bob Marley,Peter McIntosh, and Cherry Smith; they were called variouslythe Teenagers, the Wailing Rudeboys, the Wailing Wailers, and finally the Wailers. Breat ...read more

For marketing purposes, Bob Marley, the Wailers, and Bob Marley & the Wailers have become interchangeable names,usedindiscriminately to refer torecordings actually made by separate entities. So, it is worth recalling the distinctions that existed atthe times these entities performed and recorded.The Wailers, formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1963, was a vocal group consistingof Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Bunny Livingston, Bob Marley,Peter McIntosh, and Cherry Smith; they were called variouslythe Teenagers, the Wailing Rudeboys, the Wailing Wailers, and finally the Wailers. Breath Waite, Kelso, and Smith had departedby 1966, leaving the trio of Livingston, Marley, and McIntosh. By the early '70s, they had begun playing musical instruments andadded a rhythm section consisting of brothers Aston "Family Man" Barrett (bass) and Carlton (Carlie) Barrett (drums). Afterrecording extensively in Jamaica, this unit was signed to Great Britain's Island Records, which issued itslabel debut, Catch a Fire,in April 1973, followed by Burnin' in November. These albums attracted critical attentionbut did notchart at first. By the time of Natty Dread (1974), the original group had split, with McIntosh (later billed as Peter Tosh) and Livingston (laterbilled as Bunny Wailer) leaving. The album was credited to Bob Marley & the Wailers, the group consisting of Marley, theBarretts, keyboard player Bernard "Touter" Harvey, and lead guitarist Al Anderson, with backing vocals by the I-Threes (MarciaGriffiths, Rita Marley, and Judy Mowatt). The breakthrough for this groupwas their appearance at the Lyceum in London on July18, 1975. The show was recorded and quickly released on LP as Live!, and Marley and his reggae music became an internationalsensation.The success of Eric Clapton's cover of "I Shot the Sheriff," a Marley song from Burnin', inthe summerof 1974, had donemuch to popularize reggae (the original version made the U.S. R&B charts that fall), but Marley himself now achieved stardom asa performer. "No Woman, No Cry," a song originally heard on Natty Dread, reached the U.K.charts in its live rendition inSeptember 1975, becoming a Top 40 hit. With that, both Natty Dread and Live! reached the British charts. In the U.S., NattyDread had charted in May; it was followed by Burnin'and Catch a Fire in the fall. (Live! was held back from U.S. release for ayear; when it appeared, it charted in the Top 100.) Bob Marley & the Wailers reached their commercial apex in the U.S. with the April 1976 release of their next studio album,Rastaman Vibration, which hit the Top Ten as "Roots, Rock, Reggae" became a minor pop chart entry and a Top 40 R&B hit.Atthis point, the group consisted of Marley, the Barretts, the I-Threes, keyboard player Tyrone Downie, percussionist Alvin"Seeco"Patterson, rhythm guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith, and lead guitarist Donald Kinsey. Exodus, released in May 1977, found Marley &the Wailers taking a slightly more uptempo (and disco-influenced) direction; it produced three Top 40 chart hits in the U.K.("Exodus," "Waiting in Vain," and the Top Ten "Jamming," backed by the non-LP "Punky Reggae Party") and became their firstTop Ten album in Great Britain. In the U.S., it sold about as well as Rastaman Vibration, but the band began meeting resistancefrom category conscious radio programmers who couldn't figure out whether to slot it as rock or R&B."Exodus" became a Top 20R&B hit and "Waiting in Vain" made the R&B Top 40, but neither single charted pop. Once again, Marley had tinkered with theband's personnel, which for Exodus consisted of himself, the Barretts, the I-Threes, Downie, Patterson, and lead guitarist Julian(Junior) Marvin. Kaya, the fourth studio album by Bob Marley & the Wailers, appeared in March 1978. In the U.K., it was the band's biggestsuccess yet, reaching the Top Five, powered by the advance single "Is This Love," which was a Top Ten hit, and by the follow-upsingle "Satisfy My Soul," which reached the Top40. But the story was far different in the U.S., where the album struggled. Blackradio seemed to have decided that the band did not fit formats dominated by disco, while pop radio was increasingly attracted tonew wave sounds and treated reggae as a fad that had passed. The double live album Babylon by Bus, released in November,which marked the return of Al Anderson and the addition of keyboard player Earl "Wire" or "Wyn" Lindo, was a modest seller,again doing better in England than in America. The fifth Bob Marley & the Wailers studio album, Survival, was released in October 1979. It reached the Top 20 in the U.K.,withthe single "So Much Trouble in the World" reaching the charts, but in the U.S. it sold only moderately well, though "Wake Up andLive" became a minor R&B chart entry. Uprising, released in June 1980 and prefaced by the propulsive single "Could You BeLoved," gave Marley a commercial rebound. Single and album were Top Ten hits in the U.K. The U.S. was more resistant, but"Could You Be Loved" reached the R&B charts and the album charted higher than any of the band's albums since Exodus.Uprising might have done better domestically if Marley had not become ill shortly after its release and been forced to cancel histour promoting it after only a few dates. His death in May 1981 of course brought an end to the band known as Bob Marley & theWailers, but it did not end his and the band's success. Even before his death, the back catalog began to sell, with a British singlerelease of "Three Little Birds" from Exodus reaching the Top 20 in the fall of 1980. Shortly after Marley's death, "No Woman, NoCry" was reissued and reached the U.K. Top Ten,with Live! (retitled Live at the Lyceum) returning to the album chart. Theposthumous album Confrontation was issued two years after Marley's death, in May 1983. Both its single, "Buffalo Soldier," andthe LP made their way up the U.K. Top Five. In the U.S., the single made theR&B charts, and thealbum was another moderateseller. But the album that really established the defunct band as an across-the-board sales success was the hits collection Legend-- TheBest of Bob Marley & the Wailers, released in the U.K. three years after Marley's death, in May 1984, and in August in the U.S.The album topped the British charts with"One Love/People Get Ready," originally released on Exodus, becoming a Top Fivesingle,"Waiting in Vain" returning to the Top 40, and "Could You Be Loved" returning to the charts. American chartstatistics werenot as spectacular, but the album became a perennial seller; before the end of the century, it had been certified for sales of tenmillion copies. Its success, in turn, stimulated sales of the Marley catalog in the U.S., and in the '90s Burnin', Live!, RastamanVibration, Exodus, Kaya, Uprising, and Confrontation all went gold, while Island continued to scale the charts with compilationssuch as Rebel Music (1986), Talkin' Blues (1991), and Natural Mystic (1995). Often, the focus wason Marley alone. For example,the 1992 four-CD box set Songs of Freedom, which included recordings dating back to theearly '60s, was billed to Marley, notMarley & the Wailers, as was the 1999 chart album of newly created duets Chant Down Babylon. On the other hand, the manyrepackagers of '60s Wailers' recordings have long tended to credit their wares to Bob Marley & the Wailers even though thematerial was cut bythe Livingston/McIntosh/Marley group, and Island has long credited reissues of Catch a Fire to Bob Marley &the Wailers (indeed,the initial U.S. release carried that credit). Thus, in practice, recordings by Bob Marley & the Wailers canrefer to any music featuring Marley and made in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, though careful listeners will insist that the credit shouldapply only to the recordings and performances of Marley and his regular backup group from the breakup of the original Wailerstrio in 1974 to Marley's death in 1981. « hide

Similar Bands: Black Uhuru, Burning Spear, The Upsetters, Peter Tosh, The Heptones

LPs
Confrontation
1983

3.6
89 Votes
Uprising
1980

4.1
210 Votes
Survival
1979

3.9
121 Votes
Kaya
1978

4
197 Votes
Exodus
1977

4.4
546 Votes
Rastaman Vibration
1976

3.9
151 Votes
Natty Dread
1974

3.9
171 Votes
Burnin'
1973

4.1
199 Votes
Catch A Fire
1973

4.3
332 Votes
The Best Of The Wailers
1971

3.8
21 Votes
Soul Revolution Part II
1971

3.5
28 Votes
Soul Revolution
1971

3.8
35 Votes
Soul Rebels
1970

3.9
44 Votes
The Wailing Wailers
1965

3.8
40 Votes
Live Albums
Live At The Roxy
2003

4
1 Votes
Babylon By Bus
1978

4.1
61 Votes
Live!
1975

4.3
94 Votes
Compilations
Legend Remixed
06/25/2013

Mellow Mood
1996

3.5
6 Votes
Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On
1995

4.3
18 Votes
Legend
1984

4.5
730 Votes
Rasta Revolution
1974

3.9
24 Votes
African Herbsman
1973

3.9
36 Votes

Contributors: Britch2tiger, discovolante, arcane, rockandmetaljunkie, Mad., Deviant., Josh-D, 72haha72, Spec, 420yeah666yeah69, Nagrarok, ziroth, CrazyFool84, RandyfromPennywise, Eakflanderyof, tom79, Alex101, Frapacino, JonM, morrissey, Nexion, Zebra, Med57, Kaiwaz, BMDrummer, Hoppoman, Deviant., JustJoe., LysergicLollypops, CrazyFool84, Zizzer, Nagrarok,

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