Who Doesn't Like Bob Marley?
J. Freedom's got a story in today's paper about a Bob Marley photo exhibition at Govinda Gallery. It's a good read -- particularly entertaining because the photographer, David Burnett, had no idea who Bob Marley was when he was given the assignment from Time magazine in 1976.
More than 30 years later -- and nearly 30 years after his death -- it would be hard to find anyone with even the most casual passing knowledge of music who doesn't know who Marley is. He's an international icon, perhaps most identified with his genre than any other artist in any other genre. His 1984 greatest-hits compilation "Legend" is the best-selling reggae album of all-time, and you can be pretty sure that will be the case forever. Unless you're really, really a believer in Matisyahu.
J. Freedom and I also decided that Marley holds a unique superlative: Most Agreeable Music to Put On at a Party. (I guess we were talking about a college party and not grandma and grandpa's silver anniversary soiree at the country club, but even Nana would probably get down to "Jammin,'" right?) But think about it: You put on "Legend," who's going to argue with that? Its appeal is universal. You can be a fan of rock, hip-hop, electronic, metal, jazz, whatever -- you aren't going to have a problem with Marley. What other artist can you say that about? Dave Matthews will annoy plenty of people. (Duh.) There will always be some people who don't like hip-hop. Even the stars of the classic rock canon -- Beatles, Stones, etc. -- might not connect with younger kids.
Or maybe we're just wrong.
Is Bob Marley the perfect party music or not?
And if he is, then who would be second choice? I've always thought the Beastie Boys as general crowd-pleasers, but feel free to leave your nominations in the comments.
By David Malitz |
February 10, 2009; 10:56 AM ET
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