With its thick, ribcage-rattling bass line and choppy, off-beat rhythm guitar, reggae is sound for the soul. Originating in Jamaica, the genre was developed by musicians such as Joe Higgs, who mentored the likes of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. While Bob Marley and the Wailers would become the most recognizable reggae act outside of Jamaica after the 1973 release of "Catch a Fire," Jimmy Cliff was arguably reggae's first star, thanks to the popularity of the 1972 film "The Harder They Come" and its high-selling soundtrack album. In fact, "Harder" introduced audiences to a number of exceptional reggae performers besides Cliff, from Toots and the Maytals to the Melodians to the Slickers.

Reggae records, from 45s to LPs, were produced by numerous labels, including Caltone, Studio One, Treasure Isle, Tuff Gong, and Island. Some of the most popular were recorded by Marley, such as "Rastaman Vibration" and "Natty Dread." Tosh's "Equal Rights" was another groundbreaker, as was "Red" by Black Uhuru, and "True Democracy" by Steel Pulse. Non-Jamaican bands doing their own versions of reggae include England's UB40 and Southern California's Sublime, whose proteges, Slightly Stoopid have strong reggae influences but also incorporate punk and hip-hop into their music.


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