The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History: Song #500…I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley and the Wailers.


This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #500: I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

You know that this is going to be a good list when it starts out with a legendary performer like Bob Marley. Whenever the topic of Reggae music comes up, Bob Marley is usually the first person most people think of. His influence stretched far from his Jamaican roots. He became world-wide phenomenon and was responsible, along with compatriots like Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Bunny Wailer, with helping Reggae to become one of the most recognizable and popular musical genres of all time.

My first introduction to Bob Marley’s music came in the form of his album, Legend. Legend was essentially a greatest hits album that included such classics as “One Love”, “Get up, Stand up!”, “Buffalo Soldier” and the gorgeous live version of “No Woman, No Cry”. “I Shot the Sheriff” was on that album, too. Legend is the #1 selling Reggae album of all time.

The song, “I Shot the Sheriff” is widely regarded as being about marijuana and the importance of that crop in the Rastafarian culture that permeates so much of Jamaican/Reggae culture. But, there has, also, been talk that this song is about birth control and that the “sheriff” in question is actually meant to represent doctors who terminate pregnancies. Regardless, “I Shot the Sheriff” is one of the most popular rock music songs of all time and a worthy recipient of being placed on this great list.

The video I am including shows Marley at his most charismatic. What a stage presence he had! What a storied career. What a legend!

Thanks to KEXP for the inspiration to do this blog series. The link to KEXP is here.

Thanks to Bob Marley for making some of the best and most important music of all-time. The link to his website can be found here.

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