Bob Marley is synonymous with the reggae genre as he was responsible for bringing this type of music to a mainstream audience. He wrote some of the best reggae music known today and he’s still very popular, even after his death.
As a beginner guitar player who is interested in Marley’s music, you will obviously want to find easy Bob Marley songs on guitar. The songs we’ve featured here on our list all come with their own video tutorials so you can learn to play the easy chords that go with each. All of these tracks are fine for beginners and will help you build on the skills it takes to play reggae guitar. Let’s get jammin’!
1. One Love
We’re starting off with One Love from the King of Reggae as his ability to churn out megahits really bought this genre to the masses. Even though his life was brief, he had a real talent for uniting people through his passion for music. He will always be remembered as an artist with a lot of compassion and hope for humanity.
The cheerful melody of One Love that goes along with the peaceful, slightly bohemian lyrics makes this a perfect choice for our first song. It’s so easy to get yourself lost in the guitar rhythm and the deeper meaning that sits behind the words.
During the chorus of the track, Marley talks about having peace on Earth. He also touches on punishments and warnings for those who inflict pain and suffering on others.
One Love appeared at the top of the charts in the UK and epitomizes what an excellent craft reggae music can really be.
2. Three Little Birds
Three Little Birds is probably one of the most famous Bob Marley songs ever to be written. It had a huge impact on the Western world of music. The original was recorded back in 1977 and it was released as part of the album Exodus.
Fans of Marley often speculate what the three little birds actually meant. One of his close friends said that he took inspiration from a lot of the wildlife that lived around his home. He said that Bob would sit by the window every morning and three birds would sit there with them which encouraged him to write a song.
This was a real megahit of the artist and it got into the top 20 in many countries around the world. We still feel the impact of the song today and many musicians cover it even now, even after all of this time and a few decades have gone by.
3. I Shot the Sheriff
Another song from Bob Marley was their classic hit, I Shot the Sheriff. The song was released by The Wailers back in 1975 and the lyrics had definite political undertones. Marley stated that the song was all about justice and that the sheriff was meant to represent the police as a whole. It was almost an inside joke because there isn’t such a thing as a sheriff in Jamaica. Saying that he shot the sheriff was a way he could workaround his political views of shooting the police but not actually offending anybody.
4. Redemption Song
Redemption Song was a track that Marley recorded towards the end of his life. It’s one of the most popular songs that he ever wrote. It’s an incredibly simple track that makes it perfect for beginners and you will be playing this on your acoustic guitar.
The complexity of the song comes from the lyrics which evokes a very deep message. You get the real feeling of freedom from the words and it stems from Marley’s want to spread liberty and have emancipation in his country.
When the track was originally released in 1980 it became an instant hit. The popularity of the song could be said to have been boosted because it was one of the last ones Marley would record before his untimely passing.
Many people still use Redemption Song for political activism. It helps people uplift themselves when they find that they are experiencing a difficult situation.
5. Get Up Stand Up
When Bob Marley was touring Haiti he teamed up with Peter Tosh to write this song. He took his information after being deeply moved by the poverty and the lives of the people of Haiti. Marley performed this song at concerts, usually playing it last to his crowds of fans. Interestingly enough this would be the last song Marley would ever play live. His last performance happened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US on September 23 1980.
6. Sun is Shining
Sun is Shining is a track that became one of the most popular songs for the artist, but not during his lifetime. Until his death it was relatively unknown to the wider population. There have only ever been two performances of this song on record so it wasn’t one that Marley drew a lot of attention to.
One of the reasons why this song got a new lease of life was thanks to other artists covering it. A popular dance track was released in 1999 that sampled Sun is Shining by Funkstar Deluxe.
You can find more songs that are suitable for beginners here on our website if reggae isn’t really your thing. We have easy four chord guitar songs from multiple genres including pop and rock, and from famous artists from every sort of genre. Make sure to browse the website to find guides on easy guitar, as well as tips on guitar upkeep too. We hope you enjoyed our list of easy Bob Marley songs on guitar and that you have fun playing all of these pieces.