Reggae used to be a team sport. Some of the most successful Reggae acts over the last 60 years were bands. Even more tellingly, some of the most successful solo Reggae acts over the last 60 years came out of Reggae bands. Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh among them. Bands like Black Uhuru, The Wailers, Third World, The Melody Makers, I-Threes, Toots and the Maytals, Burning Spear, and Inner Circle are just some of the bands that are legendary in Reggae Music. Those bands defined the Reggae sound that is still loved by many today. They toured the world spreading Reggae love, filling venues, and creating a generation of Reggae music fans. Live reggae shows were electric and musical. Don’t beleive me? Check out Black Uhuru perfomance below.
The modern Reggae band is by no means extinct, Morgan Heritage, Rebelution, and Soja are some of the bands that are carrying on the Reggae band tradition. They need to be supported so that they can dominate the music landscape instead of dotting it. They need mainstream hits, we need to support them so that they have more visibility on the broader music landscape and not just in the Reggae music space. The market is there, No Doubt used the Reggae formula to great success. The modernity of Reggae music has become decidedly singular. Danchall music is a music of one for the most part. With the exception of the duo of Chakka Demus and Pliers and maybe the unofficial duo of Wayne Wonder and Buju Banton who had a string of hits together. They are also not bands.
We don’t get treated to group creativty as much anymore. If you can name 5 current Reggae bands that you are a fan of then you are in the minority. This needs to change. Reggae needs it lengendary bands. It would be like rock music without rock bands, it just does not work. Bands are essential to the Reggae sound and the Reggae genre.