Roots, Rockstars, Reggae: Bob Marley Tribute at the Grammys

Words by Emily Shapiro

2013 Grammy Awards

Last week, Beyonce repped hard for Caribbean music when she hit the stage at the Super Bowl so we were hyped to hear that the Grammys would be following suit with a tribute to the one and only Bob Marley, who would have turned 68 last week (Here’s how we celebrated it). While we were thinking that reggae is having a serious and well-deserved moment in popular culture, the tribute featuring Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, Ziggy and Damian Marley fell a little short of expectations.

Bruno Mars sang a version of his song “Locked out of Heaven,” followed by Sting’s performance of his own Police classic “Walking on the Moon.” While both songs have reggae vibes (and Mars’ song was clearly hugely influenced by The Police), it would have been nicer to hear them sing some tunes by the man they were honoring. At just over halfway through the allotted tribute time, we finally heard some Bob when Rihanna and Ziggy Marley came to the stage to sing “Could You Be Loved.” They were then joined by a high-energy Damian Marley, who did some chatting before the whole group finished out the song.

We would’ve like to have heard some more of the many amazing songs Bob left in his legacy and perhaps sung by some of the living legends who he worked with. But, in this instance, maybe it’s the thought that counts.