Legendary reggae singer and songwriter Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley stands out in history as not only a great musician but a cultural icon who harnessed the power of music to inspire and give courage and hope to people worldwide.
A global icon, his positive and uplifting music transcends generations, and, 41 years after his passing, his legacy lives on.
In honour of the legend, who was born 77 years ago today, February 6, and in recognition of Reggae Month, Loop News compiled a list of quotes from his extensive music catalogue — some inspired by others and popularised by Marley — that is bound to impact your way of thinking.
Just in case you're unfamiliar with any of the lyrics, our friends at D’Music created a Best of Bob Marley playlist in honour of the icon.
- “Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.” This quote is taken from the song “Three Little Birds”, and is possibly one of the most popular quotes from the reggae legend. It reminds us to stay positive despite the hardships, as things will get better eventually.
- “One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.” Taken from the hugely popular song “One Love/ People Get Ready”, Bob Marley reminds us here that there’s power and peace in unity.
- “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds,” is a line in “Redemption Song”, a track dubbed the most influential song in Jamaica’s music history. Portions of the lyrics were reportedly taken from a speech by Jamaica’s first national hero, Marcus Garvey, delivered at Menelik Hall in Nova Scotia, Canada, in October 1937. The highly conscious Bob Marley added melody to these words encouraging listeners to believe that only they have control over their thinking.
- “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” The talented musician knew the power music possessed to lift one’s spirit. This is the opening line for his track “Trench Town Rock” and an indication of the upbeat nature of the song.
- “Get Up, stand up, stand up for your rights. Don’t give up the fight.” Bob Marley also used his music to advocate for social justice. This quote, taken from the song “Get Up, Stand and Up”, has often served as a rallying cry for people to stand up for themselves.
- “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior, and another inferior, is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war.” In his song “War”, Bob Marley asserts that the world will be in a state of chaos until racism ends.
- “We've got a mind of our own. So go to hell if what you're thinking is not right.” Bob Marley shares a view on peer pressure in his track “Could You Be Loved”, and encourages listeners to believe in themselves.
- “Tis he who fight and run away, Live to fight another day.” In his song “Heathen”, Bob Marley tells us that sometimes it's okay to walk away from challenging situations, strategise and come
- “Only your friend know your secrets. So only he could reveal it.” This quote from the song “Who The Cap Fit” cautions us to be careful about the people we trust.
- “Say you just can't live that negative way. If you know what I mean. Make way for the positive day.” Bob Marley champions positive thinking in his song “Positive Vibrations” and encourages all to change their way of thinking to live a happy life.
What’s your favourite quote from a Bob Marley song?