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Thursday, May 16, 2013

If You Like Bob Marley (Backbeat Books), by Dave Thompson

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Bob Marley is recognized as one of the most important music artists of the second half of the last century—a name belonging with Elvis and the Beatles in the pantheon. One of the virtues of British-born rock critic Dave Thompson's latest is the reminder of how outré reggae seemed to the rock audience of the early '70s—at least to a large swath of that crowd. If You Like Bob Marley includes many telling anecdotes from reggae history, including Eric Clapton's reluctance to release the recording that introduced Marley to the rock world, his cover of "I Shot the Sheriff," because he realized how inferior it was to the original. If You Like Bob Marley brings the music's story into recent times, especially its influence on punk and the various ska revivals. It's a fun, fast read.