History Of Reggae And Jamaican Musical Genres

The history of reggae music can be seen throughout the world by its mark on the musical compositions of John Legend, Rihanna, Wycliff, Laura Hill, the Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, and others.

Reggae music has crossed language barriers, broken down race and class lines, brought peace among political foes and have also dissolved religious differences.

The universal appeal and acceptance of the unique sound of reggae have Jamaica's recording studios compared to Nashville.

The Early Beginnings of Jamaican Music - Mento

Before reggae, Mento was the music of the slaves that came from African. This music emphasis is on drumming, it was used in earlier times almost as a language, it told stories and you felt the rhythm deep within your soul.

Mento Is The Early Beginnings of Jamaican Music  https://www.jamaica-reggae-music-vacation.com/History-Of-Reggae.html

Also the slaves used the drumming to communicate with each other. 

Jump forward to the early 1950 when the love of Mento gained popularity in the rural areas where crowds would get together for lively dances in the pre-radio days and have fun.

Those get-together would have bands consisting of rhumba box, an adaptation from the African thumb piano, bongo drums, guitars and shakers.

This was the time to have fun, be creative and enjoy your neighbors and friends, it was more a communal affair.

Rhythm And Blues

Then a powerful radio station from the southern part of the United States started playing exciting dancehall beat music, that was called rhythm and blues, and these were the music of Fats Domino, Roscoe Gordon. It became the rage in Jamaica.

But the beat of rhythm and blues put the stress on the second and fourth beats of the musical measure, the after beat, almost like mento. So musician put together this new beat and incorporate these musical sounds of the guitar and organ and then later the bass.

Sly and Robbie is a master of this beat, it is sweet music to the ear and to your soul, you cannot help but move your body. Have you ever listened to Sly & Robbie Present Taxi and not want to dance?

1960-1970 - Reggae Evolution


Then came reggae evolution and you ask what is reggae?  The history of reggae was influenced by the music of different eras, genres and cultures.

It was the reggae revolution from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, along with Bob Marley's international exposure that put Jamaica and Jamaican music on the map and made it distinctly different from any other Caribbean hotspots.

1960 - Ska Was Born

You could say the Skatalites, a Jamaican leading jazz band of the early 1960s created Ska. A sound that was largely horn driven, fast and oh so sweet.

This jazz band altered the American R&B sound with indigenous musical elements drawn from mento, drumming known as nyahbinghi and other African Jamaican religious music starting on the road to reggae.

1966 - Rocksteady

This sound placed more emphasis on the syncopation of the drum and bass with not a lot of horns, a slower and a more refined version of ska.

Rocksteady music, another of Jamaican Musical Genres https://www.jamaica-reggae-music-vacation.com/History-Of-Reggae.html

Singers singing about life in poetry, articulating what the instrumentalist could not say, so musicians took a back seat to vocalists.

Rocksteady was created.

This sound created great vocal stylists such as Ken Booth, Bob Andy, John Holt, Alton Ellis, The Wailers, but enjoyed wide popularity for only a short time.

1968 - Reggae

Reggae distinctive sound came into being in 1968 by reggae's leading  stars Desmond Dekker, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley and the Wailers. And this sound went international in the 1970's by reggae's greatest ambassador Bob Marley.

Though reggae is mostly associated with Rastafarian it is really a mixture of lovers rock - the style created in the UK with emphasis on the romantic themes; and also with rockers and dancehall style.

While some of the creators of the history of reggae can still be heard on the world's stages such as Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear and Bunny Wailer they are no longer the voices of Jamaican youth. The new reggae ambassadors now mix their music with the sound of dancehall and some conscious lyricists such as Luciano.

The Next Phase of The History Of Reggae

Jamaican Reggae Artist, history of reggae

But the evolution of Jamaica reggae music into its next phase is still waiting in the wings.  So come visit us and enjoy these conscious sounds at Jamaica reggae music vacation.

Return From History Of Reggae To What Is Reggae

Write A Review About Reggae

Write a review of what reggae means to you, or your love of the music or about your special reggae artist.

Do you know of an upcoming talented music artist that you'll like to write about!

Share your memories and story here.

[ ? ]

Upload up to 4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Taste World Famous
Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

Newsletter Sign-Up

SiteSell Hosting