Romantic Classics from Bob Marley

by Howard Campbell

SOUTH FLORIDA – On Valentine’s Day, the world falls in love with Bob Marley all over again, with the opening of Bob Marley: One Love, the Paramount Pictures biopic starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the reggae legend.

Marley’s status as an icon from Jamaica who wrote and sang songs to uplift the downtrodden is well-documented. But, he also recorded a number of easy-listening songs, especially for those romantic moments.

We take a look at some of them.

Mellow Mood

— Produced by American Danny Sims, this 1968 stepper by The Wailers features Bob on lead vocals. On it, he promises to “play your favorite song, darling” and “rock you all night, darling.” The timeless rhythm track later drove hit songs like Reggae Bring Back Love by Morgan Heritage.

Chances Are

— Another 1968 gem produced by Danny Sims, this slow jam hears The Wailers again led by Bob, who is in somber mood.

Stir it Up

— Written by Marley and recorded by American singer Johnny Nash for his 1972 album, I Can See Clearly Now. Originally recorded by The Wailers in 1967, it was released one year after Nash’s version, as a cut from their Catch A Fire album.

Bend Down Low

— An uptempo ditty from Natty Dread, Marley’s first ‘solo’ album for Island Records in 1974. Features The I Three on harmonies.

Waiting in Vain

— From the 1977 Exodus album, a frustrated Bob lays it down to a reluctant lover. “So don’t treat me like a puppet on a string, ‘cause I know how to do my thing”, sums up his feelings.

Turn Your Lights Down Low

— Also from Exodus, Bob reportedly wrote this yearning number for Cindy Breakespeare, his lover and Miss World 1976. Within one year of the album’s release, their son Damian (Junior Gong) was born.

Three Little Birds

— Completes the troika of ballads from Exodus. A sunny song played at sporting events, parties and bar mitzvahs.

She’s Gone

— An unheralded nugget from the Kaya album, released in 1978. The Rastaman wails for his woman who has left him because, ”she say she couldn’t take it, she couldn’t take any more.”

Is this Love

— A classic from Kaya. Bob lets her know that his love transcends material things. He is willing to “of my single bed, we’ll share the same room for Jah provide the bread.”

Don’t Rock my Boat

First recorded in the 1960s by The Wailers, Bob revisited the song for Kaya. He lets his lady know she makes him feel like a sweepstakes winner.

Pimper’s Paradise

— The opening verse seemingly addresses a groupie who “loves to party, have a good time” and “model in the latest fashion”. Some Marley pundits believe it was inspired by someone in his inner circle. From the 1980 Uprising album.