CSPC: Bob Marley Popularity Analysis

Bob Marley muerte foto

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.

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So i recently was in a discussion about The Beatles and Bob Marley. Basically, I was saying that globally Bob Marley is easily mor recognized and popular than The Beatles, thoughts?


That might be true tbh, but I don’t think it’s the case when it comes to their music


No way. The music of the Beatles is much more famous , more renowned. While Bob is certainly the king of reggae music he never had the same success as the Beatles. Not even close.


Musically Beatles are surely more famous but as a brand name and popularity among masses Bob Marley is easily more popular than Beatles outside US&UK… surely I can say in the second most populated country India where I belong to

Last edited 4 months ago by Harshit_383
Marvin Van Der Weyde

Great article and great website. There is a minor mistake on here though. Trench Town Rock is a different song than Trench Town on the Confrontation album. Otherwise great to see how well his music still does on Spotify.

Thomas Christiansen

Hi Anthony and MJD

Thank you both! Excellent stuff!
A bit disappointed in Hells Bells streams actually, but I guess it will get there eventually. 😁

Regards Thomas

Thomas Christiansen

Mindblowing! Of course we all knew “Legend” was massive, but I had no idea Marley’s catalog was this HUGE! “this is only the 5th pre-2000 album which registers 3 songs over 100 million on Spotify. The remaining four albums are Michael Jackson‘s Thriller, Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours, Guns N’ Roses‘ Appetite For Destruction and Nirvana‘s Nevermind.” I suspect Metallica’s Black Album and AC/DC’s Back in Black are getting close too. In fact both would most likely be there had they not been held back from streaming for years. Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” will probably join the club pretty soon too.… Read more »

Anthony Blanchard

Hi Thomas!

At least 2 other albums have achieved this incredible performance, “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and “2001” by Dr. Dre, both released in 1999.
Concerning the albums you mentionned, the 3rd biggest song for each is:
– Black Album: The Unforgiven => approx. 90m streams
– Back in Black: Hells Bells / Shoot To Thrill => approx. 50m streams
– Slippery When Wet: Wanted Dead Or Alive => approx. 75m streams

“Exodus” is still the second oldest album to reach this performance, only exceeded by “Rumours” which was released only 4 months before!

Thomas Christiansen

“About Back to Black, its 3rd and 4th biggest songs are both on 52m so while they will take time to reach 100m, but it may be one of the fisrt albums with 4 songs reaching this milestone!” I bet “Thriller” is gonna be the first to do it. I noticed in your MJ CSPC that “P.Y.T.” is about to join the big three from “Thriller” in the 100m club. Also, “Bad” is close to having 3 songs top the 100m mark (Mirror, Criminal, Feel) and a 4th song (Bad) will get their eventually too. So Michael Jackson is likely… Read more »

Thomas Christiansen

A few more to keep an eye on:

Born in the USA (3rd 64m) Jul 2017
The Wall (3rd 47m) Jun 2017
DSOTM (3rd 40m) Jun 2017
Led Zep IV (3rd 23m) Aug 2016


Some of those are are very outdated numbers, of the top of my head 3rd on LZIV is Rock & Roll on around 42m now. Although it only has one, Stairway, on around 160m that’s over 100m, Black Dog is 2nd on around 49m.

Thomas Christiansen

Oasis Morning glory
Pearl Jam Ten

Are both candidates too I guess.

Thomas Christiansen

Martin, yes these numbers are from August 2016, so I figuered they were getting higher by now

Thomas Christiansen

Thanks MJD!
Saw your great work on Oasis!
So Morning Glory is 369(!)+118+78 👍
I think I know what you meant by “Main version only” concerning Ten. Your numbers dont included live versions? Or how about remaster/compilations.
A search for Stones Satisfaction will bring like 20 results!!!

I can only find Spotify figures for the top 5 most popular tracks by each artist…🤔

Thomas Christiansen

Found the way to see all Spotify figures. Thanks 😀

Thomas Christiansen

With Thriller and Dr Dre we have to consider 5 songs in 100m club at some point!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x