How Did Reggae Music Become Popular?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How did reggae music become popular? It’s a question that has puzzled music lovers for years. Some say it was Bob Marley’s fault, while others claim it was the rise of Jamaican culture in the 1970s.

Origins of Reggae

Reggae music is a genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The term reggae was first used to refer to a style of music that developed from ska and rocksteady. Reggae is characterized by a slow tempo, offbeat rhythms, and a distinctive, nasal vocal style.


Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant musical genre of Jamaica and was popular with British mods. Later it became popular with many skinheads.


Reggae music started in the 1960s in Jamaica. The Jamaican people were looking for something new, something to call their own. They found it in the form of ska, a music genre that was popular at the time. Reggae is a combination of ska, African rhythms, and mento, a type of Jamaican folk music. Reggae bands would play at local clubs and dancehalls, and the music quickly became popular with the Jamaican people.

In 1968, a new style of reggae called rocksteady was developed. This style was slower and more relaxed than ska, and it soon became the dominant form of reggae. Rocksteady bands like The Wailers and The Heptones became extremely popular in Jamaica.

In the 1970s, reggae spread beyond Jamaica and started to become popular in other countries, especially in Great Britain. Reggae artists like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff became international superstars, and reggae’s popularity continued to grow throughout the decade.

Today, reggae is one of the most popular music genres in the world. It has been influenced by other genres such as hip hop and electronic dance music, and it has produced numerous subgenres such as dubstep and ragga. Reggae continues to evolve, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Spread of Reggae

Reggae music became popular in the late 1960s, with the release of several hit songs. The popularity of reggae music then spread to other parts of the world, with the help of radio, television, and the internet. Today, reggae music is enjoyed by people all over the world.

The Wailers

The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae band started by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. The band gained international fame with their blend of reggae, ska and rocksteady. The Wailers’ biggest hits include “Get Up, Stand Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff” and “No Woman, No Cry.”

Reggae in the UK

Reggae music became popular in the UK in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with bands like The Wailers and Bob Marley becoming household names. Reggae was seen as a fresh new sound, and it quickly gained a following among both white and black Britons.

In the 1980s, reggae experienced a resurgence in popularity, thanks to artists like Mad Professor and Apache Indian. This new wave of reggae was heavily influenced by hip hop and electronic music, and it proved to be hugely popular with young people.

Today, reggae is still going strong in the UK, with a new generation of artists keeping the sound alive. Reggae is now an integral part of British music culture, and it shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon!

Reggae in the US

It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly reggae arrived in the United States, but the Jamaican expatriate community in New York City was certainly playing a role in its spread by the early 1970s. Reggae music began to enter the American mainstream in the late 1970s, thanks in part to the release of several well-received reggae albums (including Bob Marley’s Rastaman Vibration and Peter Tosh’s Equal Rights) and the popularity of disco (which often incorporated elements of reggae). Reggae also gained exposure through film: The Harder They Come, a 1972 movie about a Jamaican musician (played by Marley himself), was popular among American audiences, and The Mighty Quinn, a 1989 film starring Denzel Washington, featured several reggae songs on its soundtrack. By the early 1990s, reggae was being played on American radio stations and was starting to gain popularity among non-Jamaican audiences.

The Legacy of Reggae

Reggae music has its origins in Jamaica, and it became popular in the 1960s. The genre is a mix of African and Caribbean music. Reggae music is known for its slow, relaxing beats and its focus on social and political issues. The music became popular all over the world in the 1970s, and it is still popular today.

Reggae’s influence on other genres

Reggae music has had a significant influence on other genres of music, especially in the area of popular music. Reggae-influenced music can be heard in many popular songs today, especially in the area of hip-hop and R&B. The popularity of reggae music has also led to the rise of other genres of music, such as dubstep and drum and bass.

Reggae’s social and political impact

Reggae’s social and political impact was immense. It gave voice to the poor and oppressed, and helped to spread a message of peace and love. The music also helped to break down racial barriers, and promote understanding and unity between people of all cultures.

Reggae has had a profound influence on many aspects of society, including fashion, art, language, and politics. The music has been used as a tool for social change, and has helped to raise awareness of important issues such as poverty, hunger, and injustice. Reggae has also been credited with helping to end the apartheid system in South Africa.

The legacy of reggae is evident in many parts of the world today. The music continues to inspire people of all ages, and its message of peace, love, and understanding is as relevant today as it was when the genre was first created.

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