PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Bob Marley and the Wailers: Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers [DVD]

Michael Beaumont

Bob Marley and the Wailers

Legend: the Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers [DVD]

Label: Island
US Release Date: 2003-07-29
UK Release Date: 2003-10-06

No other Jamaican singer has colonized the consciousness of the record buying public quite like Bob Marley. Marley became not only a superstar in the '70s and very early '80s; he also became the international ambassador for Jamaican reggae music, and remains the only real household name in Jamaican music. And although other Jamaican artists over the years have broken into the worldwide mainstream (Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, Buju Banton), none have ever eclipsed what Bob Marley contributed to the genre.

A natural companion piece to the always-popular Bob Marley collection, Legend, this DVD is a great introduction to Marley for the uninitiated, although it ultimately would have benefited from a more scholarly approach to Marley's life.

Containing many, if not all of Marley's music videos, plus a feature length documentary, Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers is not short on content.

The 90-minute documentary, "Time Will Tell", is a sort of Marley cocktail, containing no true narrative structure although it attempts to tell a linear story. It is narrated solely by Marley himself (make sure you use the subtitles), through various interviews recorded throughout the years. The sound and picture quality of the interviews varies greatly and unfortunately a lot of what Marley has to say is a little vague. There's a lot of formless talk of people coming together, about the spiritual side of the music, about Jah Rastafari, and well, you get the picture. These interview segments are broken up with footage of the Wailers playing live and occasionally some 16mm footage of Trenchtown, and schoolyard soccer matches.

All in all, "Time Will Tell" is an interesting view, but the BBC's "The Bob Marley Story - Caribbean Nights" is a much more comprehensive film on Marley and a more informative one also. If your goal is to simply get a feel for the man, "Time Will Tell" will provide that for you, but if your interest in Marley runs deeper, "Caribbean Nights" is the better film.

The meat of the disc, however, is the live performances and they are a real treasure. Marley was a first class performer and the Wailers were very tight live. Footage and performances from the famous Live at the Rainbow concert from '77 as well as early footage from BBC's The Old Grey Whistle Test from '73 illustrate the purely hypnotic power of Bob Marley and the Wailers live shows. If that wasn't enough, there are no less than ten "bonus songs" featuring live recordings from Exeter, and Germany's Rockpalast festival among others.

Legend is a beautiful DVD, but it benefits greatly from the fact that Marley's material was so strong, and I can't help but wish that Island was able to put together a better documentary feature for such an important figure to not only the music world, but to the Island Records roster as well. That being said, the fact that Island saw fit to include a documentary at all is still beneficial to the collection, as it would have been very easy for Island to release only what was included on the Legend CD, and there seems to have been an honest effort here to provide some value to Marley's extensive fan base. It's not a flawless collection, but it's a damn fine one nonetheless, and one that reggae fans should enjoy immensely. Other features include a "personal playlist" which allows the viewer to choose which order the DVD plays a selection of songs in, and exclusive web content for your DVD-ROM.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.