Chart Peak: 5
Unless I'm missing something, this is the first posthumous Now appearance (for Marley, obviously, not all the Wailers), not that the sleeve note feels the need to mention this. It's the first of three such appearances for him, with a 1977 album track that was belatedly released as a single to promote the immensely popular Legend compilation, reportedly the biggest-selling reggae album of all time. In fact, the original version of the song, in a more traditional ska style, was released by the Wailers in 1965. The subtitle, incidentally, reflects the fact that the song is based on 'People Get Ready' by The Impressions.
I've always been resistant to the deification of Marley since his death, and indeed I'm one of the few who never did buy a copy of Legend, but as it is 'One Love' is a short but sweet little number with a utopian sentiment that obviously appealed in 1977 (when he'd fled Jamaica after an apparent assassination attempt) and after his death. Just in case, the promo video tries to tug the heartstrings a little further with its combination of archive footage and a child actor, plus the endorsement of various celebrity cameos. Paul McCartney doesn't quite do the full thumbs aloft but he's certainly in that mood and Suggs and Chas from Madness have brought some of the stock footage from the 'Return Of The Las Palmas Seven' video. There's a zeitgeist moment when Marley's voice sings "fight this holy Armagideon" while Ronald Reagan appears on a TV screen.
Also appearing on: Now 23, 44 [with Funkstar Deluxe]
Available on: Legend
Charting 1997: 27th December
5 years ago