In an era in which everybody who achieves 15 minutes of fame is labelled a “Legend!!!” – like comments by some, we may wonder which word would fit well someone of the stature of Bob Marley. The utterly iconic Reggae singer crossed over cultures, boundaries and generations to become way more than a simple singer. He is one of the World’s main flagships of love, peace and respect. More than 36 years after his death Marley‘s face remains widely known in every corner of the globe.
The symbolism of his persona reached such heights that he is more often compared to Gandhi, Ernesto Guevara, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa rather than Elvis Presley, Phil Collins, Elton John and Rod Stewart. The first four icons never sold a record. It raises a real question: while there is no doubt about his immense popularity beyond the music scene, has Marley really been as popular as a singer?
His records which include Exodus and Kaya are never mentioned among the best selling albums ever. If you add together his #1 hits in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and Belgium, you get the total of zero. I mention #1 hits, in reality Marley‘s songs never made the US Hot 100 top 50. Maybe he was an album seller instead? In the UK and Germany, his studio outputs never made the Top 3. In the US, Rastaman Vibration was his only Top 10 LP by going to #8.
Songs like No Woman No Cry, Could You Be Loved, Three Little Birds or Is This Love? seem widely popular though. Where is the truth then? How popular really is Marley and his catalog? Which songs are the most remembered to this day? How do his albums perform against their contemporary competitors?
As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Marley‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.