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Island 50th Anniversary Special Edition. There are few musicians whose music has indisputably advanced humanity. Reggae figurehead Bob Marley–a songwriter, poet, activist, and visionary–is one of them. The idea that a single-disc collection could represent the depth, breadth, and power of Marley’s achievement is far-fetched, but LEGEND makes an excellent attempt. Every single one of its tracks is outstanding, and the artist’s different faces–revolutionary (“Get Up Stand Up”), romantic (“Is This Love”), devout Rastafarian (“Buffalo Soldier”), and prophet (“One Love/People Get Ready”) are equally represented.
In addition to his moving message of love and unity, Marley is a master songwriter, as the timelessness of songs like “Stir It Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” and the gorgeous, poignant “Redemption Song” proves. Of course, a true sampling of Marley’s output would require some early ska material, the Wailer’s debut (CATCH A FIRE), the definitive NATTY DREAD, and his later-period opus EXODUS, but LEGEND provides a highly satisfying, if brief, overview of Marley’s genius. A record well suited to any location, season, or time of day, it has proven universal in its appeal. The music herein is as essential as air. (Note: The Deluxe Edition CD includes two bonus tracks and an additional disc of remixes.)