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YouTube Gold: I Shot The Sheriff

One of the great songs of the 20th century with stunning craftsmanship

Bob Marley At Home
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - JULY 9: Bob Marley relaxes with friends in front of his house at 56 Hope Road on July 9, 1970 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Photo by Charlie Steiner - Hwy 67 Revisited/Getty Images

Elvis Presley didn’t really invent rock n roll. That had been happening, as Fats Domino said, for decades in New Orleans.

Similarly, Bob Marley and the Wailers didn’t create reggae in Jamaica but they became its biggest stars.

Reggae became an international phenomenon and the political, anti-colonial aspects of reggae gave it enormous power. One Westerner reported hiking in remote Nepal and coming across a Buddhist temple somewhere. And on the wall: a Bob Marley poster.

They couldn’t have done as well as they did if they weren’t superb, brilliant musicians. And one of the underrated parts of the band were the backup vocals which are stunning.

Here’s a live performance of “I Shot The Sheriff,” one of the finest songs the Wailers ever did. Listen to the studio version. It’s really a stunning piece.

Tragically, Bob Marley died at the age of 36 of cancer. He had been diagnosed with a rare melanoma in 1977 and the disease later ravaged his body before claiming him in 1981.

Nothing could take away his musical legacy though as his music continues to be treasured around the world.