The eternal face of reggae, Bob Marley, would be 71 years old today and probably still jamming had he not succumbed to cancer in 1981. But while you may know him as a face emblazoned on a poster or a T-shirt, or for hit songs like “Three Little Birds,” “Redemption Song” and “No Woman, No Cry,” some of Marley’s most affecting work lives on far away from classic radio. And with that in mind, we wanted to look back at some of Marley’s deep cuts.
A fundamental belief in the Rastafari faith, which Marley was a very public practitioner of, is that Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I is viewed as the messiah. With “War,” Marley adds his own spin to a speech credited to Selassie about racial inequality and how it leads to war on all fronts. In this song, Marley gets straight to the point and avoids the usual mystery of his poetic lyrics but retains his spellbinding delivery that’ll leave you humming the lyrics for hours.