Five Most Whitewashed Reggae Songs Ever

Categories: WTF
bob marley legend.jpg

These days, reggae evokes images of hippies, dreadlocks, good ganja and good vibes, but the genre, which developed from ska, mento and R&B music in the 1960s, wasn't always a college dorm room staple.

Maybe it was Eric Clapton's 1974 cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" that helped white people enjoy the laid back groove, but by the mid 1970s, it was getting promoted in the UK via John Peel's radio show, and the UK punk rock scene was drawing considerable influence from reggae music as well.

So in the classic tradition of the mainstream totally co-opting all that is cool and classical we give you the five most whitewashed reggae songs we know. (Whitewashed meaning, "the only reggae songs the masses have ever heard of, period.")

5. "Here Come The Hot-Stepper" - Ini Kamoze
Most people do not know Ini but surely have heard the song. To most the song defines "gangsta" reggae and maybe the only song that is and will surely be featured on VH1's One Hit Wonder list. The song not only has a catchy beat but the lyrics are to die for. And to cap it off its a song that makes the masses swoon and get crazy.

4. Anything by Trevor Hall
 Not only does he have a faux "patwa" (Jamaican slang), his dreads are to kill for. His lyrics are a bountiful and with classics like, "unity", "lime tree" and "31 flavors", man i thought i had seen the best of the worst.

3. "Red Red Wine" - UB40

Where does one start? As whitewashed as it is, it's a classic--probably the only reggae song made about red wine, a dub song featuring pop vocals, with the bonus of a little rapping in between. Who doesn't savor rapping and reggae roots together? Man, let's get high.

2. "Boombastic" - Shaggy

Not only is the singer's name a custie giveaway, but as soon the song starts with the Marvin Gaye sample ("Let's get it on"), you know it's going to be a long night.

1. "I Shot the Sheriff" - Bob Marley

I'd bet that this is the most overplayed song that any cover band--regardless of time zone or talent--has not only covered but played. Flock to any reggae "joint" and chances are as soon as the song is played, everyone will start singing at the top of their voices, flocking to the dance floor while pretending to be in the moment, while exalting praise to the man--Marley.

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You forgot anything my Matisyahu or whatever his lame name is. 


i thought reggae was about jah and bringing ppl together??

not creating schism and looking down on sheltered suburbanites.


Red Red Wine isn't a reggae song. It's a pop song written by Neil Diamond back in the '60's.How can you whitewash a Neil Diamond song?


Come on! Inner Circle's "Bad Boys" should be the number 1 whitewashed reggae song? It's been blaring from our TV's since 1989 thanks to COPS. Will Smith (when it comes to rap you can't get more white washed than him) even sang it in his movie Bad Boys.


Is this Peter the Kenyan? You got your handle finally! Good for you! 

(Whitewashed meaning, "the only reggae songs that I have ever heard of, period.)  

How is this possible? because Kenya is Ethiopia adjacent so you should have a unique knowledge of, and an opinion on, the roots of Reggae which lie in the Rastafari movement and their messiah Haile Selassie? 

I'm just saying...


To add to that, the most recognized version of this song was Tony Tribe's 1969 version. According to lore, UB40 never heard the orginal Neil Diamond version (which made it to about 68 on the Billboard top 100in 1968).  Tribe's version is a classic, as is Nicky Thomas' version of "Love of the Common People", and Toot's version of "Country Road".


I should have said the most recognized reggae version of this song...

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