Jamaican reggae artist, Bob Marley, has a legacy that’s touched fans around the world and generated covers of his music by artists in multiple genres. Many tried to emulate him, but versions of his music by other artists rarely found favor. There were a few exceptions, however, and the following are the nine best covers of Marley’s songs.
1. I Shot the Sheriff
Numerous artists have scored with this hit, one of which was rocker Eric Clapton in 1974. It became his first No. 1 hit. It again charted in 1998 with the gravelly vocals of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
2. Redemption Song
Legendary country singer, Johnny Cash, teamed up with The Clash founder, Joe Strummer, in 2002 to perform the song. When promotors suggested a couple of words be changed, Cash refused and is reported to have said, “Bob Marley wrote that. I can’t change that!”
3. Waiting in Vain
The distinctive voice of rocker, Annie Lennox, performed a poignant version of the song in the 2001 film “Serendipity.”
4. Johnny Was
In 1980, the Irish punk band Still Little Fingers claimed the song as their own and made it a statement about the political conflict that lasted for decades in Ireland.
5. Is This Love
Singer, songwriter and record producer, Bilal, is known for his cross-genre work. In his hands, the song became a soft and sensuous soul-jazz hit in 2010 that by turns is loud and languid.
6. Soul Rebel
The award-winning Old Crow Medicine Show is known for its folksy and blues-based songs. The lyrics lent themselves extremely well to a rendition with an Appalachian flavor.
The song was Marley’s tribute in support of the Zimbabwe rebels seeking independence from colonialism. Bradley Nowell, of the punk rock band Sublime, performed the song with an earnestness that caught the interest of free thinkers.
8. Three Little Birds
A happy-go-lucky feel-good song with an underlying theme of freedom, it remains one of Marley’s most popular songs. Dionne Bromfield, goddaughter of Amy Winehouse, took the song and rather than a song of optimism, recorded it as tune hinting that optimism was the result of experience demonstrating the opposite.
9. One Love
No cover list would be complete without the version of the song performed by Marley’s sons, Damian, Stephen and Ziggy, in 2007 at the Glastonbury Festival. True to Marley’s vision, it was presented as a tribute to love, music and humanity.