It's been 45 years to the day since Bob Marley & the Wailers released their epic sixth studio album Burnin'; their second release on Island/Tuff Gong Records (following Catch a Fire earlier that year). The reggae legends' career would only blossom after that.
Featuring two of the most iconic Bob Marley tracks ever, Get Up, Stand Up and I Shot the Sheriff, Burnin' was the group's second record to be co-produced by Chris Blackwell (Grace Jones, U2). It was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and Notting Hill; the most polar opposite areas you could think of; but the result was a record that is still considered one of the greatest of all time.
I Shot the Sheriff told the story of a man being falsely accused of killing a deputy officer after shooting down a corrupt sheriff. Bob Marley originally wanted to call the song I Shot the Police, but changed it after contemplating the controversy it would have caused.
Not that it didn't cause controversy anyway. Strangely, though, it didn't cause nearly as many problems as Ice-T's Cop Killer in 1992 - a fact that is frequently noted by the rapper's fans.
In 2012, it was claimed by one of Marley's ex-girlfriends, Esther Anderson, that the line "Sheriff John Brown always hated me, For what, I don't know: Every time I plant a seed, He said kill it before it grow" was in reference to his opposition of her using birth control, with "sheriff" having been changed from "doctor". Though there's no way, of course, that this can be proved.
Burnin' was the last album featuring original Wailers members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer and included re-recorded previously released songs Duppy Conqueror, Small Axe, Put It On and Pass It On. The band would support the record with their Burnin' Tour in October and November of that year.
It has become an inspiration to many, with the Fugees' Lauryn Hill adapting the album cover for her 1998 debut solo record The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
The Definitive Remastered edition of Burnin' was released in 2001, with the deluxe edition following in 2004. In 2007, it was inducted into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry for its historical and cultural significance, because it marked the beginning of mainstream interest in Jamaican music.
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