Africa & the DiasporaCultureFeatures

Bob Marley’s album Exodus strikes a timeless chord

Bob Marley’s album was released in June 1977 through Island records. At the time Marley, his wife Rita Marley, and his bandmates were living in London’s exile. The message it contains 45 years ago is still without a doubt relevant in today’s world characterized by income inequality between the haves and have-nots.

Marley was hoping that his message would change the world but unfortunately, countless people around the world are still being uprooted from their homes by political conflicts and injustices. Instead of getting better, the world seems to be getting worse as new phenomena such as climate change and global pandemics are plaguing new generations.

“His audience is always going to be massive as the most recognized artist on this planet”, DJ and filmmaker Don Letts who met him in London was quoted as saying by the BBC culture. Letts went on to say that Marley’s global recognition as a timeless artist is not necessarily based on how much music he’s sold during his career but simply because people without money are continuously being oppressed all over the world, stating,“As long as those numbers stay like that, Bob’s gonna be the man.”

By the time “Exodus” was released, Marley had fled to London following his December 1976 assassination attempt that wounded him and his wife vocalist Rita Marley. The album “Exodus” mirrors his own experience as someone who was obliged to flee away from his home country as a result of Jamaica’s political turbulence in the late 70s.

As of today, people all over the world are still plagued by the same issues Marley was dealing with in his UK capital’s exile where he spent more than a year during which he created Exodus and its follow-up Kaya in 1978. The spirit of Exodus also has another facet that evokes the Old Testament tale of Moses leading his people to safety and its parallels with Marley Rastafarian’s faith.

Marley’s confirmation as a true global icon has over the years been connecting with new generations of listeners as his reggae music is still resonating in all corners of the world.In her excellent work The Book Of Exodus (2006), music writer Vivien Goldman writes: “Exodus was a creative leap, a journey from one familiar style and technique in search of an unknown other, retaining the music’s reggae patois while making it intelligible to a broader community.”

Marley’s Exodus is probably one of the greatest live performances and the album it contains is defined by Jamaican culture as an album that defined the 20th century. It is simply a “spiritual experience” whose spirit will live forever as long as the world we are living in isn’t ready to get better as Bob Marley was hoping during his 36-years-old journey on this planet. Although his life was short, Bob Marley proved himself to be a timeless prophet whose lyrics will forever be relevant to generations to come.




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