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50 Years of Jamaica's Awesome Reggae Hits

Reggae music originated in the late 60s in Jamaica and over the past 50 years has been adopted in many corners of the world. Many local and international reggae hits have been produced over the years and in tribute to Reggae Month, a sample of these hits are presented for your listening and dancing pleasure.

A hit song, also known as a hit record, hit single or simply hit, is a recorded song or instrumental that becomes popular or well-known. The songwriter writes a song that is catchy, compelling and commercial. That means the song is well-crafted, it connects to a broad audience and it causes action on the part of the listeners. It may make them cry, laugh, dance, tap their feet, or buy the song. In any case, it causes them to react. It also has to be commercial in the sense that an artist would want to sing it and an audience would want to hear it.

Although hit song means any widely played or big-selling song, the specific term hit record usually refers to a single that has appeared in an official music chart through repeated radio airplay or significant commercial sales. Before the dominance of recorded music, commercial sheet music sales of individual songs were tracked as singles and albums are now.

Reggae is an important form of music for Jamaica; it has affected life in Jamaica. This has also created an understanding of Jamaican lifestyle and culture for the rest of the world. Reggae is a form of music speaking for the masses.

The list of reggae hits presented span the years 1967 to 2019 with 2 songs per decade. It was difficult to cut the list down to 2 songs per decade as Jamaica produces so many hits over the years. Some songs and artistes you may have never heard before, but all are hits in Jamaica and many are hits internationally as well. Enjoy and let me know which are your top 3 songs.

1967 - 1969

The Techniques – You Don’t Care (1967)

The Gaylets – Silent River (1967)

1970 - 1979

URoy & the Paragons – Wear You to the Ball (1970)

The Slickers – Johnny Too Bad (1972)

1980 - 1989

Dennis Brown – Revolution (1985)

Jimmy Cliff – Reggae Night (1983)

1990 - 1999

Marcia Griffiths – Electric Boogie (1990)

Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder: Movie Star (1992)

2000 - 2009

Bob Marley – One Love (2001)

Sizzla – Dry Cry (2002)

2010 - 2019

Chronixx – Smile Jamaica (2013)

Koffee – Toast (2018)


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Jacqueline Cameron is a writer with decades of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.

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