REGGAE King Bob Marley still reigns supreme. According to popular digital music outlet iTunes, the Jamaican icon and his 1984 compilation album Legend has the number one spot in 17 of 22 international markets .
The countries include United States, France, Germany, Australia, Austria, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Spain.
Also obvious from the charts, is the virtual absence of the high-riding deejays and reggae acts including Mavado, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Sizzla, Jah Cure and I-Octane.
With the exception of Marley, the local industry is represented by Marley's son, Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley; Sean Paul; Shaggy; Toots and the Maytals; The Jolly Boys; and, Jimmy Cliff.
So dominant is Bob Marley's music, he holds six spots on Norway's and Spain's top 10 album charts. Similarly, he holds five spots in Belgium, Portugal and The Netherlands.
The younger Marley appears on the top 10 in four countries. In the United States his Grammy-winning album Welcome to Jamrock is at number eight, it holds the number five spot in the United Kingdom and Canada, and number three in Ireland. His 2002 release Half Way Tree is number three in Canada.
Cultural commentator Dr Dennis Howard said this shows reggae still maintains a dominance in these markets as the authentic sound they were introduced to as opposed to dancehall.
"For the most part, dancehall is still underground, and until the production quality and lyrics are of a particular standard, the younger dancehall acts will never make an impact," he told the Observer.
"Reggae is now a universal sound, and the music of Bob continues to propel that movement," he added.
Shaggy and Sean Paul put in appearances on behalf of the dancehall community.
Sean Paul's Imperial Blaze is at number 10 in the United Kingdom, while the popular Trinity is number seven in Belgium. Shaggy also appeared on two charts. In Blegium, Boombastic is at number six, while Hot Shot is number two in Canada.
Global sensation, the Jolly Boys — the mento band from Portland — is also listed on the iTunes reggae charts in two markets. Their debut album, Great Expectations released by Jon Baker's Geejam Records is charting in Spain, where it is number five and number six in Greece.
Some of the popular non-Jamaicans who produce reggae are also listed on these charts. American Hasidic Jew Matisyahu holds a spot on the US iTunes reggae chart with his project Light; German singer Gentlemen is on that country's listing with Diversity; Côte d'Ivoire's Alpha Blondy appears on a number of the European charts including France. Italian Alborosie appears on that country's chart with 2 Times Revolution. Danish deejay, the late Natasja — who created a stir in Jamaica by winning the Irie FM Big Break competition — has two albums on the chart in her native country.
Bob Marley died of complications due to cancer in May of 1981. He was 36