Bob Marley was one of the most prolific musicians of our times. While you might be able to sing along to a lot of his hits, perhaps you never realized just how diverse his catalog is.
If you usually associate Bob Marley with kicking back on vacation in a tropical location with a frozen drink in your hand, you’re not alone. But while many of his iconic, upbeat tunes do lend themselves nicely to a beach vacation, he actually kind of has a song for every occasion.
Here are seven Bob Marley songs to throw on for (almost) every mood or situation.
1. When you need help fighting the good fight: “Redemption Song”
When all the crazy happenings of the world have you down, take a listen to “Redemption Song.”
A rare departure from Marley’s signature head-bobbing reggae tracks, “Redemption Song” is an acoustic number and the last song on the final album he recorded with his band, the Wailers. The album, “Uprising,” was released in 1980, and Marley died from complications from cancer a short time later on May 11, 1981.
Some feel that the song was a way for Marley to bid farewell to his fans. It’s also a call to action to stand up for what’s right and never lose hope.
2. When it’s time to let loose at the end of a long day: “Mellow Mood”
Although many of Marley’s songs are great for when you just want to chill out, this one has a particularly relaxed melody, and well, it tells you right in the title how you’re supposed to feel: “Mellow Mood.”
When the kids are finally in bed, the dishes are done and you finally have a minute to relax, throw on “Mellow Mood” and “let the music rock” you—ideally with your main squeeze chillaxing at your side.
3. When you’ve been wronged: “I Shot the Sheriff”
Maybe you had a stranger sound in on your parenting skills at the grocery store. Or maybe your boss threw you under the bus for a mistake he made. Maybe you got a parking ticket one minute after your meter expired—or maybe it was something much worse. Sometimes you just need to vent about how unfair the world can be. Bob Marley has your back.
In a 1975 interview about the meaning of the classic tune, Marley had this to say: “‘I Shot the Sheriff’ is like I shot wickedness. That’s not really a sheriff, it’s the element of wickedness. The elements of the song is that people been judging you and you can’t stand it no more and you explode, your just explode.”
4. When you need an instant pick-me-up: “One Love”
OK, so we’ve already covered how pretty much all of Marley’s songs are perfect for being blissed out in the sun while you sip a Rum Runner or tropical drink of your choice, but this one seems like the quintessential “life is good” anthem.
Marley’s native Jamaica even co-opted the joyful song to make the jingle for their tourism campaign in the 1990s, “Come to Jamaica.” So whether you can actually make it to a proper beach—or simply need a song that’ll take you there mentally—”One Love” is the perfect accompaniment.
5. When you need some courage: “Get Up, Stand Up”
Sure, Bob Marley may be known for music that serves as a great backdrop for being blissed out, but he was passionately political.
“Get Up, Stand Up” has been covered by a number of artists throughout the years, and the song has come to be an anthem for human rights all over the world. It’s even the official song of Amnesty International.
While you may not be battling global political issues every day, everyone runs into times when they feel like they need an extra dose of courage to do what needs to be done—and when you do, “Get Up, Stand Up” is your jam.
6. When you need a moment of zen: “Three Little Birds”
You’ve been stuck in traffic all day. Your kids are not on their best behavior. And did we mention you spilled your coffee all over your favorite shirt this morning? You need to center yourself—stat.
It’s impossible to listen to “Three Little Birds” and remain in a bad mood, even when everything that could go wrong has.
7. When life calls for a celebration: “Jamming”
Easily one of his best feel-good tunes, “Jamming” is all about forgetting about your problems for a bit and having a good time. You don’t have to think too hard when you’re listening to “Jamming,” as the lyrics are pretty sparse—but I think that’s kind of the point!
Maybe you got a raise at work, your kid got straight A’s or you’re finally heading off on a much-needed vacation. Sounds like a great time to play “Jamming.” Or maybe there’s a smaller victory to be celebrated (yes, getting your husband to take the garbage out without having to ask counts), and “Jamming” will help you do just that.