Top Reggae albums EVER!

Updated: Jan 23

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As with any genre of music, truly great reggae albums transcends its place in the musical landscape and makes the listener feel something. Reggae came out of Jamaica’s political climate and Rastaf ari religion in the 1960s and progressed into popularity in the early 1970s, branching off into numerous subgenres. Here are ten of the top reggae albums of all time, which have taken from the genre’s rich history and influenced artists and fans for decades.

Number Ten: ‘Ska Boo-Da-Ba’ by The Skatalites

Known for their work with Justin Yap on Ska Boo-Da-Ba, the band’s second album has become one of their most sought-after. They were one of the first bands to popularize the ska sound, backed up by mostly horns and little vocal.

Number Nine: ‘Two Sevens Clash’ by Culture

Titled after a prediction made by Jamaican politician Marcus Garvey, Culture’s debut album, Two Sevens Clash, became their most influential. The album’s title track was the band’s most popular, not only spreading the band’s name across Jamaica, but also partially sparking a superstitious nature concerning the end of the world prophecy many Rastafarians held about when the “two sevens clash,” 1977. However, the album is also noted for its eclectic musical style and light tone amidst its dread-based lyricism.

Number Eight: ‘King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown’ by Augustus Pablo

King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown was multi-instrumentalist Augustus Pablo’s first successful album. Often noted as being one of the best examples of the dub sub-genre, as the title track remixes a previous version of the same song. The album also notably features Pablo’s melodica and keyboard work as part of his focus on instrumentals. His next album, East of the River Nile, would be completely instrumental.

Number Seven: ‘Heart of the Congos’ by The Congos

Produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry at the Black Ark, Heart of the Congos by The Congos remains one of his best productions ever. The album’s roots reggae sound and reverent lyricism have consistently put it on critics’ radar, with Pitchfork calling it one of the best albums of the 1970s.

Number Six: ‘Legalize It’ by Peter Tosh

His first album post-Wailers, Peter Tosh released Legalize It in 1976, pushing for the legalization of cannabis by the Jamaican government for medicinal purposes. The album and its title track were controversial for this subject matter, but in the end, the controversy worked in Tosh’s favor, launching him to stardom.

Number Five: ‘Marcus Garvey’ by Burning Spear

Burning Spear’s third album, Marcus Garvey is named after the Jamaican politician and Rastafari “prophet,” and is the band’s most political album to date. It was also the band’s most successful album, leading to a distribution deal with Island Records in the United States.