The origins of Reggae music were influenced by traditional African, jazz and traditional rhythm and blues. First developed in Jamaica beginning in the late 1960s, the term “Reggae” usually relates to a specific style of music that first started following the advent of the Ska and rock steady genres. The accents of rhythmic style in are characterized by an off-beat and slower pace. For example, in Reggae music, it is usually the second and fourth beat that is emphasized. The complex bass lines also have been a constant in the formula style.
- Bob Marley. The name “Bob Marley” is so synomous with the best of Reggae music that even those who are not Reggae fans know who he is. His image is displayed world-wide on everything from t-shirts to bongo drums. He is the only Jamaican Reggae artist in history to have won two Grammy Awards in one evening. In addition, he and his band, “The Wailers,” won the Grammy for Best Urban/ Alternative Performance. His album, “Welcome to Jamrock” was named by the New York Times as the best Reggae album of the decade.
- Peter Tosh. Along with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh played with their band, “The Wailers.” After the band split in 1974, he had a very successful solo career. As one of the best Reggae artists of all time, his Jamaican music roots inspired him to continue to promote the Rastafari philosophy, until his untimely murder during a home robbery.
- Toots and the Maytals. Originally called “The Maytals,” this band of Jamaican musicians are considered one of the best Reggae groups of all time. The Maytals were always key figures in Reggae music, starting in the early 1960s. Known for having well-blended voices, their passion for Reggae was unmatched. Lead singer Frederick "Toots" Hibbert was often compared to the soulful stylings of rhythm and blues recording artist, Otis Redding.
- Jimmy Cliff. Like his counterparts, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff is one of the best Reggae artists of all time. He holds the Order of Merit Jamaican government honor for his artistic achievements. Best known for songs like "You Can Get It If You Really Want," and "Sitting in Limbo," from the soundtrack to “The Harder They Come,” he helped popularize Reggae music worldwide. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
- Burning Spear. Also known as Winston Rodney, Spear is a pioneer of Reggae music, as one of the Best music artists of all time. As a Reggae Jamaican roots Rastafarian movement singer and musician, his influence came far from some of the more commercialized dancehall stylings. His message based music has been nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, having won for Best Reggae Album in 2000 for “Calling Rastafari,” and again in 2009 for “Jah Is Real.”