#29 – Michael Franti & Spearhead feat. Cherine Anderson – “Say Hey (I Love You)” – (2008)

I have mixed feelings about Michael Franti – look at the cover and title of that album (All Rebel Rockers). It makes him look like he’s some kind of militant Rastafarian reggae artist. But watch his videos and listen to his songs. He sounds like a really nice, gentle guy. Anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter because he finally broke through to the mainstream with this super upbeat, happy track. It was his first Hot 100 entry and the song peaked in the top 20. The first time I heard it was on Weeds and shortly thereafter it was popping up everywhere. You won’t find a happier tune anywhere.

#35 – Damian Marley – “Welcome To Jamrock” – (2005)

Some people don’t like Damian Marley. Either because they can’t understand what he’s saying or they don’t trust him based on his appearance (which is a load of crap, by the way). This is one of my favorite reggae songs (might actually be my favorite if I stopped to think about it) and it’s hardcore reggae – none of this pop/crossover business. It’s borderline hip-hop. Damian is Bob Marley’s youngest son and, strangely, I’m writing this post on his 35th birthday. Happy Birthday. And don’t ask why this is so high up on the list.

Bob Marley & the Wailers – “Stir It Up” – (1973)

This is the oldest song on this little mini-countdown – it was written by Bob Marley in 1967. It wasn’t released by Marley until 1973 – one year after Johnny Nash made it a hit. This song has a very steady and mellow beat. It is a great song to sit in the sun and sip drinks – preferably on a tropical island, or even trapped in a Disney water park.

Enur feat. Beenie Man & Natalie Storm – “Whine” – (2008)

This song does not have a Latin tint. Instead, we’ll go Jamaican, as it featured Beenie Man and Natalie Storm. This is my second favorite track from Enur’s 2008 album Raggatronic (which I own). The verse by Natalie Storm is awesome – and, well, so is Beenie Man’s. The beat is great. I want more songs like this. Please – artists capable of creating them, please do so.

Stephen Marley feat. Maya Azucena and Illestr8 – “Let Her Dance” – (2007)

Stephen Marley is another son of Bob Marley and he was a member of Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers with his brother, Ziggy. He won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Reggae Album and this one – Mind Control – was his first solo release and it also won the same Grammy in 2008. This song is my favorite from the album. It’s features Maya Azucena – a Brooklyn-based R&B singer and Illestr8, New Jersey-based rapper whose father was in Bob Marley’s Wailers. The vocals in this song are awesome and it really has a smooth feel to it.

Olav Basoski feat. Michie One – “Waterman” – (2005)

Olav Basoski is a Dutch DJ and remixer best known for this song he did with Michie One – a British reggae singer. It’s very upbeat and there’s just something about dancehall vocalists that really draws me in. I like how they can speak so quickly with that wonderful accent and still be mostly understandable. It was actually a hit in the U.K. and the U.S. (but mostly on the dance charts in the U.S.). It’s pretty catchy.

Julian Marley – “Rosehall” – (2009)

Awake was Julian Marley’s 2009 Grammy-nominated album. It’s only the third album he released since his debut in 1996. He, of course, is the son of Bob Marley. This song is a decent reggae song with a very good beat. And yes, there will be other Marley’s on this list.

Jimmy Cliff – “I Can See Clearly Now” – (1993)

Decade confusion here stems from this being a quite faithful cover of a song originally released by Johnny Nash in 1972. Jamaican reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded this song for the soundtrack for the 1993 film Cool Runnings starring John Candy. It climbed up a number of U.S. and international charts, hitting the top 10 on three different U.S. charts. Not only is Cool Runnings a great movie, but this is a great song and personally, I like it better than the original.

UB40 – “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” – (1989)

This awesome reggae cover of Al Green’s 1973 classic was released of off UB40’s 1989 album Labour of Love II. It was a top ten hit in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands in 1990. UB40 is the world’s most successful reggae artist/band (by album sales). Many of their hits were from the 1980s and this was the first single from their last album from the 1980s, thus its association with the 80s in my mind. P.S., I saw UB40 live two years ago and they were fantastic. They will also be a staple on our mainstream/reggae-pop list which we will be counting down at a date that is still TBD.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry” – (1974)

The live version of this song is pretty famous – as it’s the version included on the Legend compilation album. I prefer the studio version (as is almost always the case with every song). This is another fairly popular Marley song and one known by the walking human Bob Marley jukebox. Good song – especially when they break down at the “everything’s gonna be all right” part.

Bob Marley & The Wailers – “Redemption Song” – (1980)

One of the people I was on the trip with was a walking Bob Marley jukebox. She could sing any of his songs on command. This is an easy one to sing because when Bob did it (originally) it was acoustic and just him and a fairly quiet guitar. There was a full band version released in 2001 (and it’s pretty good – definitely more upbeat than this version).