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At the Root of Happiness, is Reggae

Reggae Crowd watching the stage in grass area.

Reggae originated from Jamaica back in the late 1960’s and has since grown in popularity worldwide, including the United States, in turn paving the way for many Reggae artists.

Who Introduced Reggae to America?

Well, there are multiple answers to this question. Some like to say Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” was the first reggae hit (by a pop musician) to hit the charts at number 62.  

Others say it was Johnny Nash’s “Hold Me Tight” because it was one of the first examples of an artist who brought positive vibes to radio.

However, there is no denying that Bob Marley’s influence greatly helped bring Reggae to the U.S. soon after Eric Clapton covered Marley’s song “I Shot the Sheriff.”

Top Influencers of the Reggae Genre

Bob Marley was a Jamaican singer, musician, and songwriter that played a variety of instruments including the electric guitar, saxophone, trombone, the trumpet, and other percussions. His style of Reggae came with a hint of ska, rocksteady, and reggae to create his own unique sound. In 1963, Bob Marley joined forces with his band Bob Marley & The Wailers to write hits such as: “Is This Love,” “One Love,” and “Could You Be Loved.” His music’s impact extended far past the 60’s when it resurfaced in 2013. A dance company, Urban Dance Camp, choreographed a dance to “Is This Love” which caused the song to resurface with popularity at a whopping 18 MILLION VIEWS!

Winston Rodney, also known by his stage name, Burning Spear, is a Jamaican roots, singer-songwriter musician with many hits including, “Marcus Gravey,” “Slavery Days,” and “Jordan River.” Rodney was nicknamed Burning Spear after Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, who was also called Burning Spear. He has been nominated for 12 Grammys and won 2 of them for his albums: Jah is Real and Calling Rastafari under the Best Reggae Album category.

Toots Hibbert, also known as the Father of Reggae, was an early pioneer in expanding Reggae to the world. Hibbert performed with his band, Toots and the Maytals, where they performed the sound of ska, rocksteady, and reggae. He is most notably known for being the first man that coined the term “reggae” to describe the genre of music.

Jimmy Cliff is a multitalented artist with the ability to play the guitar, piano, conga, and of course, sing his soul out. His song, “I Can See Clearly Now,” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 2, 1972. Many say he was a huge part in introducing reggae to an international audience after he starred as the lead actor in the film, “The Harder They Come,” in 1972.

Modern Reggae Artists

In the current decade of the 2020’s, Reggae has expanded even further to include a massive variety of sub-genres. Genres such as Dancehall, Dub, Roots Reggae, Reggaeton, Lovers Rock, Ska and more have started taking the spotlight and continue to push Reggae further into the mainstream world. The following are some Modern Reggae Artists that have been taking the limelight:

First up is Iration, an alternative/reggae group from Isla Vista, CA. Their sound is fused with elements of rock and pop making them one of the leading bands in the genre of sunshine reggae. Their hit song, “Time Bomb,” became RIAA Gold Certified in 2021 and currently has over 60,691,382 streams on Spotify. They have performed at many venues across the United States including the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center!

J Boog is one of Hawaii’s top reggae artists that dabbles in the sounds of rock, reggae, hip hop, and R&B. His most popular song, “Let’s Do It Again,” released in 2011 on his album Backyard Boogie and resurfaced at the beginning of 2020 when Stranger Things actor, Noah Schnapp, created a dance routine to it on Tiktok. Influencers and celebrities participated in this trend by recreating this dance including Jason Derulo, Addison Rae, and Loren Gray!

Rebelution is a reggae rock, roots, and dub inspired band made up of four members: Eric Rachmany, Rory Carey, Marley D. Williams, and Wesley Finley. Together, they bring the house down at every concert and are known in the Reggae community to give stellar performances.

Click here to check out our Gallery from last year’s Reggae Rise Up!

Craving that Reggae music live? Lucky for you, we have a variety of Reggae performers coming to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center this summer including Iration, Rebelution, and J Boog! Click here for more information.

Don’t worry about a thing

‘Cause every little thing

Gonna be all right



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