Rastaman Vibration

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"Rat Race (song)" redirects here. For other songs of the same name, see Rat race (disambiguation).
Rastaman Vibration
Studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Released 30 April 1976
Recorded Harry J. Studios, Joe Gibbs Studio, Kingston, Jamaica, late 1975–early 1976
Genre Reggae
Length 35:21
Producer Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bob Marley and the Wailers chronology
Rastaman Vibration
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone (not rated) (1976)[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]
War audio sample

Rastaman Vibration is a reggae album by Bob Marley and the Wailers released on 30 April 1976. The album was a great success in the US, becoming the first Bob Marley release to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 charts (peaking at number 8), in addition to releasing Marley's most popular US single "Roots, Rock, Reggae," the only Marley single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 charts, peaking at No. 51. Synthesizers are featured prominently on this album, adding a breezy embellishment to otherwise hard-driving songs with strong elements of rock guitar. This is one of the three Wailers solo albums released in 1976, along with Blackheart Man by Bunny Wailer and Legalize It by Peter Tosh.

Song writing credits[edit]

Although the album's liner notes list multiple songwriters, including family friends and bandmembers, all songs were written by Marley.[citation needed] Marley was involved in a contractual dispute at the time with his former publishing company, Cayman music. Marley had not wanted his new songs to be associated with Cayman and it was speculated, including in his obituary in The Independent, that he had put them in the names of his friends and family members as a means of avoiding the contractual restrictions and to provide lasting help to family and close friends.[5]

Vincent Ford, a childhood friend from Jamaica, is the songwriter for "No Woman, No Cry" on the 1974 album Natty Dread, as well as the songs "Crazy Baldheads" (with Marley's wife Rita), "Positive Vibration" and "Roots Rock Reggae" from the 1976 album Rastaman Vibration, along with "Inna De Red" and "Jah Bless" with Marley's son, Stephen.[5][6]

Marley's widow and his former manager Danny Sims sued to obtain royalty and ownership rights to the songs, claiming that Marley had actually written the songs but had assigned the credit to Ford to avoid meeting commitments made in prior contracts. A 1987 court decision favored the Marley estate, which assumed full control of the songs.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Positive Vibration"   Vincent Ford 3:34
2. "Roots, Rock, Reggae"   Vincent Ford 3:38
3. "Johnny Was"   Rita Marley 3:48
4. "Cry to Me"   Rita Marley 2:36
5. "Want More"   Aston Barrett 4:14
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Crazy Baldhead"   Rita Marley, Vincent Ford 3:12
7. "Who the Cap Fit"   Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett 4:43
8. "Night Shift"   Bob Marley 3:10
9. "War"   Allen Cole, Carlton Barrett 3:36
10. "Rat Race"   Rita Marley 2:50


Chart (1976) Peak
Canada (RPM Top Albums)[7] 32
France (IFOP)[8] 12
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[9] 20
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[10] 26
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[11] 14
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 45
UK Albums (OCC)[13] 15
US Billboard 200[14] 8
US R&B Albums[14] 11


  • On the inside of the original album jacket, to the right, is a message stating "This album jacket is great for cleaning herb." The original jacket had divots in it which made its texture bumpy.
  • Northern Irish punk rock band Stiff Little Fingers covered "Johnny Was" on their debut album Inflammable Material, which became the first record on an independent label to enter the UK Top Twenty, entering a number 14 on Rough Trade Records. This cover version, though not released as a single, entered John Peel's Festive Fifty at number 15 in 1979 and continued to feature through to 1982.


  • "It's not music right now, we're dealing with a message. Right now the music not important, we're dealing with a message. Rastaman Vibration is more like a dub kinda album and it's come without tampering y'know. Like 'War' or 'Rat Race', the music don't take you away, it's more to listen to." –Bob Marley, June 1976


  1. ^ Bush, Nathan. "Bob Marley & the Wailers – Rastaman Vibration". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Bob Marley & the Wailers". Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Palmer, Robert (17 June 1976). Bob Marley – Rastaman Vibration at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 April 2007). Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  4. ^ Abowitz, Richard. "Bob Marley – Rastaman Vibration". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Leigh, Spencer (7 January 2009). "Vincent Ford: Songwriter credited with composing 'No Woman, No Cry'". The Independent. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Kenner, Rob (3 January 2009). "Vincent Ford Dies at 68; Inspired Classic Bob Marley Songs". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 25, No. 17, July 24, 1976". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Bob Marley & The Wailers" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rastaman Vibration" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Rastaman Vibration". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  12. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  13. ^ "1976-05-15 Top 40 UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Rastaman Vibration – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 

External links[edit]