The Song: "Get Up, Stand Up," Bob Marley & the Wailers. Words & music by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Track 6 of Legend, 1984
How/when acquired: Gift cassette, 1989; gift CD, c. 2002.
Yes, reggae purists, I know that "Get Up, Stand Up" was originally Track 1 of Burnin' (1973). Legend is what I own. In fact, I'd be surprised if any college-educated, 40-something white person in America doesn't own a copy of Legend. It is the best-selling reggae album of all time, and was essential to the cultural enlightenment of my whole generation.
It was not, however, my first exposure to reggae. That would have been Jimmy Cliff's movie The Harder They Come (1972), which my friend Adrienne and I saw at the Naro Expanded Cinema in 1980 or 1981. I don't remember much about the movie, but the music was thrilling. Our friend Melissa had grown up in Jamaica, and had all these records; she played them for us, and did not make fun of me, as would have been justified.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Maine's choices aren't great this year, but I'm voting anyway. If you can vote and don't, please leave a comment to remind me why we're friends.