A diachronic analysis of Jamaican reggae charts, 1968–2000

Sarah Dayens

in Time and Memory in Reggae Music

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780719076213
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702116 | DOI:
A diachronic analysis of Jamaican reggae charts, 1968–2000

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Reggae charts mix different styles (roots reggae, dancehall reggae, etc.) as well as contents (love songs, slackness, religious or sociopolitical songs, etc), and are therefore representative of reggae music as a whole. This chapter analyses reggae charts in Jamaica from 1968 to 2000 to trace the general evolution of reggae music and to determine the extent of the presence of the Rastafari movement within reggae music. For this diachronic analysis, the chapter uses Jamaican annual singles charts, which have existed since the beginning of the 1960s and are based on weekly charts. The available data were ranked music charts until 1996 (23 or 26 best sales of the year, depending on the year), and charted hits after 1996 (for example, all the singles that made it to the charts at least once during the year). The chapter uses two different variables, song content and artists, to examine simultaneously the presence of a sociopolitical and/or religious message in the charts, and the presence of artists linked to Rastafari, even when they sing love songs.

Keywords: reggae; music charts; Jamaica; Rastafari movement; songs; artists

Chapter.  4834 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Media Studies

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