Cedella Marley recently commemorated one of her favorite albums by her demigod father, the suite Time Magazine called The Greatest Album Of The 20th Century.
“Can’t believe it’s been 44 years since Daddy released one of my favorite albums of his. Which track on Exodus is your favorite?”, the Tuff Gong International CEO asked across her social media channels yesterday.
Four decades have done little to diminish the impact of Bob Marley And The Wailers’ 9th studio album with its ten missives on love and revolution. This week, during its 44th anniversary, the album re-entered Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart at No. 8, selling 588 copies last week, and 1040 units with streaming, according to MRC Data.
Yet with its global gems like Waiting in Vain and Turn Your lights Down Low, the album that made Bob a megastar almost never materialized.
Released on June 3, 1977, the timeless treasure came at the time of Bob Marley’s own physical exodus to London after a brazen attempt on his life at his Jamaican home. It’s said the Gong chose the album’s name way before he wrote a single song, and the title track is charged, horn-drenched cut that chronicles the chilling events. The hit on the poetic singer’s life is widely perceived as politically motivated, and Marley spared no lyrical effort with his seething sedition on the compilation.
“Open your eyes and look within/ Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)?/ We know where we’re going, we know where we’re from/ We’re leaving Babylon,” Marley declares on Exodus. Ironically, the album spawned from his 56 Hope Road hiatus remained on the UK charts for 56 consecutive weeks.
Tracks such as The Heathen and So Much Things to Say are laced with his trademark biting barbs; Guiltiness speaks for itself. Bob’s genius artistry of course implied balance, and lighter, contrasting themes can also be found in the mix.
Cedella, who was 10 years old at the time of Marley’s exile, would have no doubt enjoyed the album’s upful, universal anthems Jamming, One Love and Three Little Birds as a child.
The former Melody Maker recently endorsed Nakkia Gold’s single, Justice (Get Up, Stand Up), a worthy re-up of Bob’s affirming battle cry in this era of protest. “I am proud that my father’s message of peace and equality transcends, especially today,” Cedella said. When her father sang of “a natural mystic [they] can’t keep down” on Exodus’ opener, the Gong just may have been citing himself.
Both a critical and commercial success, Exodus has since had four separate reissues to mark its 40th anniversary via The Marley Family, UMe and Island Records. Each includes the original Exodus as well as Exodus 40 – The Movement Continues, Bob’s eldest son Ziggy Marley’s curated ‘restatement’ of the original, as well as bonus footage and vinyl versions.
Bob’s youngest son Damian Jr. Gong Marley shared his own Exodus remake years ago on his Welcome To Jamrock album. The rousing instrumental flows through his bass-heavy track Move!, while the verse (much like Bob’s Ambush In The Night) frames the fiasco behind the Gong’s sudden flight: “Anytime delegates have a discrepance/ Well a bare tension with some long weapons/ Night vision upon the attack mission/ Coalition of folly-ticians get switch on/ Somethin’ nuh right, I man suspect a con,” he rhymes on the track.