Where Did Reggae Music Start?

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Reggae music started in the late 1960s in Jamaica. The music was influenced by American rhythm and blues, as well as by Caribbean mento and calypso.

Reggae’s African Roots

Reggae music originated in the 1960s in Kingston, Jamaica. The music was a blend of African and Caribbean music. Reggae quickly became popular in Jamaica and then spread to other parts of the world. The music is now enjoyed by people all over the world.

The African connection to reggae

The African connection to reggae is often overlooked, but the influence of African music on the Caribbean island of Jamaica cannot be underestimated. Reggae legend Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” The same can be said of the African influence on reggae.

The African continent is home to a rich variety of musical traditions that have influenced many genres around the world, including reggae. The history of Africa is a history of migration, and the music of Africa reflects this history.

The earliest form of African music that influenced Jamaica was the drumming and chanting of West Africa. This music was brought to Jamaica by slaves who were brought to the island from Africa. The slaves would use their drums and chants to communicate with each other and to express their feelings of pain, suffering, and hope.

The drums and chants of West Africa laid the foundation for the development of reggae music in Jamaica. Jamaican musicians began to experiment with different rhythm patterns and sounds, and they soon developed their own unique style of music. Jamaican reggae is characterized by its offbeat rhythm, which is known as ska. Ska became popular in Jamaica in the 1960s, and it soon spread to other parts of the world.

Reggae music has become one of the most popular genres in the world, and its African roots are an essential part of its sound. When you listen to reggae music, you can feel the influence of Africa in its rhythm and its message of peace, love, and unity.

The influence of African music on reggae

Reggae music has its roots in African music, specifically the music of Jamaica. African music was brought to Jamaica by slaves who were brought over to work on plantations. These slaves would sing work songs while they worked, and these songs would often have a simple repetitive melody and a strong rhythm. These work songs would often be adapted to become folk songs, and they would be passed down from generation to generation. Over time, these folk songs began to evolve and change, and eventually they became what we now know as reggae music.

Reggae music is characterized by its use of syncopated rhythms, its reliance on bass instruments, and its use of drums. These elements can all be traced back to Africanmusic. Reggae music also often features call-and-response vocals, which is another element that can be traced back to African music. Call-and-response vocals are often used in African music as a way of getting the audience involved in the performance.

Reggae music has been hugely influential, both in Jamaica and around the world. Reggae has influenced other genres of music, such as rocksteady, ska, dub, and dancehall. Reggae has also been adopted by many non-Jamaican artists, such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, who helped to spread the genre to a global audience.

Reggae’s Jamaican Roots

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The word reggae comes from the word “raggedy”, which describes the sound of the music. Reggae is a form of popular music that is influenced by African and Caribbean music. It is characterized by a strong rhythm and a lot of bass.

The Jamaican connection to reggae

Reggae music originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The word reggae comes from the Jamaican word “streggae,” which is used to describe a disheveled or lazy person. Reggae music is a blend of African and Western musical styles, and it is typically characterized by a strong drum beat, off-beat guitar rhythms, and vocal style that is unique to Jamaica.

The genre developed out of other Jamaican music styles such as ska and rocksteady. Reggae was heavily influenced by the sounds of American soul and R&B music, which were being played on Jamaican radio stations at the time. Reggae singers often use a patois dialect of English, which is a mixture of British English and Jamaican Creole.

Some of the most famous reggae artists include Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Jimmy Cliff, and Ziggy Marley. Reggae music has become popular all over the world, and it continues to be an important part of Jamaican culture.

The influence of Jamaican music on reggae

Jamaican music has had a profound influence on reggae, with many of reggae’s biggest stars – including Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and Gregory Isaacs – all starting out their careers in Jamaica.

The Jamaican music scene is incredibly vibrant and diverse, with a wide range of genres and sub-genres being represented. Reggae is just one of the many styles of music that have emerged from Jamaica, but it is undoubtedly the most internationally successful.

Reggae’s roots can be traced back to the late 1960s, when a group of Jamaican musicians started experimenting with incorporating elements of rocksteady and ska into their music. This new style of music quickly caught on with Jamaican audiences, and soon spread to the rest of the world.

Over the ensuing decades, reggae has continued to evolve and mutate, with artists taking influence from a wide range of other genres, including hip hop, dub, and even classical music. However, at its core, reggae remains true to its Jamaican roots.

The Birth of Reggae

Reggae music started in the late 1960s in Jamaica. It is a combination of African, American, and Caribbean music. Reggae is usually played on the guitar, drums, and bass. The lyrics are often about social issues, love, and religion.

The early days of reggae

Reggae music started in the late 1960s, in Jamaica. At that time, there were two main types of music being played on the island: ska and rocksteady. Ska was the more popular style, and it was characterized by a fast tempo and bouncy rhythms. Rocksteady, on the other hand, was slower and smoother.

The birth of reggae can be traced back to a 1967 song called “Nanny Goat” by Larry Marshall. This song fused elements of both ska and rocksteady, and its success inspired other artists to experiment with this new sound. The word “reggae” itself is thought to come from a 1968 song called “Do the Reggay” by Toots & the Maytals.

In the early 1970s, reggae became the dominant style of music in Jamaica. The most popular artist of this era was Bob Marley, who helped spread reggae to a global audience. Marley’s band, The Wailers, released their debut album in 1973 and had their first international hit with “No Woman, No Cry” in 1974.

Reggae has continued to evolve since its inception, and today it is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world.

The pioneers of reggae

The first wave of Jamaican popular music which developed from ska and rocksteady was led by people such as Prince Buster, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, and Duke Reid. The second wave, which was mostly influenced by American R&B, soul, and funk music, was fronted by people such as Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, and Jackie Mittoo. The third wave of reggae was led by returning pioneers such as Lee “Scratch” Perry and Augustus Pablo, who introduced new instrumentation and soundsystems to the genre.

The Golden Age of Reggae

Reggae music started in the late 1960s in Jamaica. The golden age of reggae was the 1970s. This was a time when many great reggae artists emerged, such as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and Gregory Isaacs. Reggae became very popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with artists such as Ziggy Marley, Buju Banton, and Shaggy.

The rise of reggae

In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant music genre of Jamaica and was popular with British mods. By the middle of the decade, the music had evolved into rocksteady, a slower, more soulful style. Reggae developed from rocksteady in the late 1960s. The first popular song to use the word “reggae” may have been Toots and the Maytals’ 1968 hit “Do the Reggay”.

Reggae became for a time synonymous with Rastafari movement lyrics and lifestyle, especially important in establishing an identity among members of the African diaspora who often found themselves living in cultures where they were a minority. In 1971, former associate produced what is regarded as one of first reggae albums outside Jamaica, The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff. The film of same name helped to gain worldwide exposure for both reggae music and Bob Marley.

The international success of reggae

Reggae’s international success began in the 1970s. In 1972, Bob Marley and the Wailers performed at the Lyceum in London. The concert was officiated by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Edward Heath. Marley’s performances stirred up racial tensions in Britain at the time. His song “I Shoot the Sheriff” made its way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973, becoming the first reggae song to do so. This opened up reggae music to a wider international audience. Other Jamaican artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Max Romeo also found success in the 1970s.

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