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Last updated: 17 October, 2008 - Published 08:41 GMT
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Forum: Reggae
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The reggae debate rages on
Who has left the greatest legacy in the world of reggae?

Some will argue that Bob Marley, his creativity, and basically for putting reggae and Jamaica on the world map, wins the crown hands-down.

Others will point to the likes of the 'crown prince of reggae' Dennis Brown, for his contribution to roots reggae and his influence on a generation of reggae artistes.

Klive Walker, a Canadian writer and essayist whose parents are Jamaican, has written a book on reggae titled Dubwise.

He devotes a whole chapter to Dennis Brown, citing him "the underground favourite for many".

The BBC's Suzanne Lennon spoke to him about Dennis Brown's legacy.

Who - for you - has the rights to 'the reggae crown'? Discuss.

Have your say

Reggae crown you ask? In that case King Robert the First. The rest...nowhere.
Simon P
Tobago, T&T

It's the Natural Mystic Man. Brother Bob Marley, beating Jimmy Cliff by a nose.
Isam Clarke
Brooklyn, USA

Dennis Brown is definitely the most influential. He has had an impact on guys like Luciano & Maxi priest.
Kelly Bartholomew
Hillsborough, Carriacou, Grenada

OK folks everyone needs to get a reality check here. Undoubtedly Bob Marley is and will always be the GREATEST reggae singer of all times. But let’s not forget all the other names that was mentioned, including Delroy Wilson that’s right, Delroy Wilson. Of course some of you folks remember him right? Instead of selecting one, how about all of the reggae singers who have greatly impacted the economical, social and political climate 60's, 70's & 80's.
Lets not be selfish united we stand, divided we fall. This mantra also includes reggae music.
Boston, MA

Since a crown is for everyone to see, the logical answer would be Bob Marley. He is the most recognized name in reggae outside of the Caribbean. However, influence in the changing or shaping of the genre is another thing.
Kings Park, Belize

Bob Marley is undoubtedly the one who has left the greatest legacy in the world of reggae since he is the one whom most people hear and know about around the world. This does not say however that D Brown did not make a powerful contribution to the world of reggae.
Glenda Abraham
Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines

Well it’s clear! It’s Bob. He has left the most impact on the entire world.

Bob Marley has opened the door for reggae music. He introduced it to the world and made it worldly accepted. There were other contributors but none as great or as good as Bob Marley.
Marisa Stedman
Roseau, Dominica

Bob Marley(Jah B) & the Wailers did the most for reggae as his songs were universal to all people irrespective of race or origin, but the pioneers during the ROCK STEADY era actually put JAmaica's music on the map. Dennis Brown lie somewhere in the 4th spot behind Alton Ellis. Problem with your piece is that the author Klive Walker was not born in JA and may be not be privy to the history of the music. Does Mr. Walker Know that American RAP was born out of Ja's DJ music of artiste such as King Stit, U-Roy, Big Youth, Dillinger etc.
I rest my case!!!
Denny Brown
Mississauga, Canada

Over the last 40- 50 years there has been a number of great reggae singers and songwriters, but for me personally it's got to be Bob Marley, as he is responsible along with Chris Blackwell for blessing the world with his music, lyrics and songs. The man was way ahead of his time and his great music will be played around the world for eternity.
Ronnie Ferguson
London, England

I think Bob Marley has left the greatest legacy in the world and not only in reggae.
Erik Simmons
Grand River, St.Lucia

No arguments - BOB!
This does not diminish the contribution of others like D Brown or Alton Ellis. But Bob's influence was global, having real political and social implications for many struggling minority groups like Australian aborigines and South Africans oppressed by Apartheid. The iconic image of Bob joining Manley's and Seaga's hands is symbolic of the intent and, in some cases, effect of his message and music.
Craig Young
Leamington Spa, UK

It is quite simple really. Without Sister Mary Ignatius many of the talents would never have picked up a musical instrument. She must have left the greatest legacy to the musical world
Simon Ward
Olveston, Montserrat

Bob Marley. Nuff said.
London, England

Most definitely it’s Bob. H has broken so many barriers.
Grantley Chedick
St.George’s, Grenada

Though my knowledge of the genre is small, I am surprised that Frederick "Toots" Hibbert has not received a mention yet. I have heard some argue that if it weren't for his arrest, he could have been "as big as Bob." As to the question at hand, I would say that Bob Marley had the greatest influence in bringing reggae out of Jamaica and onto the world stage. But who has most influenced the music itself? I'm going to beg off on that question because for now I just don't feel I'm qualified to give an answer.
Hedgesville, United States

Bob was more of a commercial figure hence his notoriety but in terms of retaining the substance of the music, sticking to Jamaican culture as the Jamaican people know it Bob loses the crown to Dennis and men like Jimmy. That is from a Jamaican perspective not some external reggae lover's standpoint.
Tyrone Hall
Kingston, Jamaica

Of course it's Bob Marley. He's not (just) the greatest reggae act ever but also the greatest musician ever born. No other musician has ever made a great revolution by music as Robert Nesta Marley did. Never Ever!!!
Nilanka Dissanayake
Leeds, UK

Can they not share the crown; one for international influence and the other for national influence?
Guy Mathurin
Castries, Saint Lucia

Bob Marley without any doubt
Gladstone Greene

Bob Marley of course. Even to ask the question shows you don't know the history of reggae. Without BOB reggae would be as popular worldwide as Vietnamese folk music
Peter Jonker
Rotterdam, Netherlands

In reality there are many great reggae singers of iconic stature; Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs etc. But Bro Bob transcends the lot by far. He is truly the best.
Byron Cameron
Montreal, Canada

In my opinion it’s Bob Marley. His music still continues to inspire and influence so many around the world. His image can be seen on the T-shirts worn by the misunderstood youth, badges on the sleeves of revolutionaries in some war torn country, on banners at peace rallies and protest marches in every corner of the globe. He may not be 'the crown prince' but he is still the king.

This debate may very well go on ad infinitum as different persons are drawn to different reggae artistes. For my part, I think it is worth taking a broad view, and instead of trying to identify a single individual as the greatest, it might be best to focus on the fact that it was a combination of their music that took reggae to its place of prominence. Bob Marley is great and has undoubtedly left a lasting legacy. He is one of my favourites. But so too is Peter Tosh with his radical approach to oppression and Western ideology. Then of course, Bunny Wailer is a master. But who can forget Burning Spear, John Holt, Culture and the rest? They all set the standard for the modern artist, and if you listen carefully, you will hear some Marley, Tosh and Culture in Lucky Dube, Buju Banton, Israel Vibration. We must also remember, too, that all of them learned from each other. So who is the greatest? Collectively, they stand as Princes of the Blood of reggae. None is greater than the other!
Gavin Emmanuel
Thibou's Estate
Antigua and Barbuda

Let's not forget the late great Garnet Silk.....
Monica Cummings
Surrey, England

Without a doubt, Robert Nesta Marley. I would concede that they're many that helped to laid the foundation for reggae’s world wide fame but Bob is king.
E. Irving
Dangriga, Belize

Bob...of course!!!! :)
Trinidad and Tobago

I believe Dennis Brown is the greatest regga act ever to walk this earth. He is just the greatest reggae singer.
Bob on the other hand is more popular which was due to the help of Blackwell.

Bob Marley is the king of reggae. Because of him a lot of people around know about Jamaica.
Rob Williams
Morden, England

Brother Bob of course...go anywhere in this world and his name and music is known. Bob Marley is reggae.
Atlanta, Georgia USA

Dennis Brown is my man.
Kasha Heru
Matanza, Cuba

LUCKY DUBE who else

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