This brilliant book captures the reggae era’s superstars. Ya mon.

By James Long

If you wanna dance then you go dance disco. But if it’s something more for the benefit musically, then you gonna listen to the reggae because you have to listen to it as our God make it. He make it up for your interest, it no gonna trick you.” Such was the intriguing insight from Bob Marley in 1979. Marley—as anyone who prefers analog LPs or Spotify knows—was the high priest of reggae and the iconic head of the Rastafarian movement, “the spiritual journey emerging from material poverty that’s embodied in their music,” as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Patti Smith writes in Rebel Music: Bob Marley & Roots Reggae, the bookstore edition from Genesis Publications. 

Flip through the glossy hardcover’s 256 pages and the tome captivates you with stunning images captured by celebrated photographer—and Poughkeepsie-born—Kate Simon, with more than 400 photographs from her archive, most published here for the first time. You’re transported back to reggae’s dazzling cultural moment, or as Simon writes, “a chance to bring a special era back to life: Jamaica and her musicians from the mid-’70s until just before the mid-’80s.”

Simon’s own observations and visual narratives evoke emotions and ignite curiosity, accompanied with soulful reflections of Marley and other reggae luminaries—Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh; Aston “Family Man” Barrett—and the era’s iconic happenings, The Wailers on the Exodus Tour; 1978’s politically-uptight One Love Peace Concert—from 24 famous contributors, including Smith, Chris Blackwell, Lenny Kravitz, Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen.

Quite the list of music legends and Simon’s genuine testament to reggae’s unique cultural allure and Bob Marley’s human and spiritual achievement. One love, indeed—and Poughkeepsie proud.


Rebel Music: Bob Marley & Roots Reggae, the new book by Kate Simon, is now available to order from

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