Marley, Wailers’ “Legend” Best-Selling Reggae Album

Ramona Samuels

bob marley and the wailers-bunny wailer museum
Bob Marley and the Wailers at the Kensington Hotel in London, 1980

Bob Marley might be dead, but his music is very much alive. So alive that his album “Legend” has immeasurably outsold all the other best-selling reggae albums of 2021. Talk about legendary!

The greatest hits collection was first released in May 1984 by Island Records. According to Billboard’s sales tracker MRC Data, the album sold 609,000 units from sales and streaming in the United States for 2021. This success included 179,000 pure album sales, while on-demand audio and video streams stood at 528,314,000 and 50,801,000, respectively.

Bob Marley, Legend Album
Legend by Bob Marley and The Wailers charts as the greatest Reggae Album of all time. PHOTO CREDIT:

The other reggae albums ranked Number two through ten all together sold under 30,000 copies in pure album sales in 2021. Also, this list included a second entry for Marley at Number nine for the group’s “Gold” album.

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Let us make things more straightforward. Here are some numbers from the top three album sales and on-demand streaming for reggae albums of last year, compared to Bob Marley and The Wailers.

Shaggy comes in at number two for his album Best of Shaggy, The Boombastic Collection, with 2,300 album sales, 159,339,800 in On-Demand audio streams, and 39,229,600 in On-Demand video streaming. And number three is Stick Figure with 7,100 album sales, 92, 252,800.

These are good numbers, yet still a far cry from Legend’s album units and streams.

Other albums listed

Finishing out the top ten for best of billboard album sales in 2021 is Sean Paul at number four with Dutty Classics Collection. Stick Figure comes in again at number five with Set In Stone. UB40’s Greatest Hits comes in at number six. Jason Mraz Look For The Good is number seven. At the time, Sean Paul features again at number eight with Dutty Rock. Bob Marley and The Wailers graces the album charts in sales at number nine for the album Gold. And Bob Marley’s grandson, Skip, son of Cedella Marley, finishes at number ten with Higher Place.

But the 37-year-old album doesn’t stop there. Legend placed number six on the Year-End Top R&B Albums chart and Number 32 on the Year-End Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for albums sold in the US for 2021.

Legend has surpassed expectations and has set a standard for reggae album sales like no other. With more than 15 million copies sold in the US, more than 3.9 million in the UK, and 33 million sold globally, Legend is the best-selling reggae album of all time.

The album was number 46 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums in 2003, which maintained the rating in a 2012 revised list.

In 1984, Legend debuted at number 54 on Billboard 200, and as of January 11, 2022, Legend holds the number one spot for the 105th week in a row on the weekly Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

The tracklisting includes:

  • Is This Love
  • No Woman No Cry
  • Three Little Birds
  • Get Up Stand Up
  • Buffalo Soldier
  • Exodus
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • Stir it Up
  • BBC’s Song of the Century One Love
  • Redemption Song
  • Jamming
  • Waiting in Vain