Marley courts First Lady
Bob Marley

NEARLY 50 years after its release, Bob Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff continues to make an impact. It was featured in season one, episode five of Showtime network’s newest series The First Lady on Sunday night.

The First Lady is an American anthology drama television series — created by Aaron Cooley — which premiered on Showtime on April 17, 2022. It stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Viola Davis, and Gillian Anderson, and portrays life and family events of three First Ladies of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, and Michelle Obama.

Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, which made its way to the opening scene, was written by the reggae king.

The song was first released in 1973 on The Wailers’ album Burnin’. Marley explained his intention as follows: “I want to say ‘I shot the police’ but the government would have made a fuss so I said, ‘I shot the sheriff’ instead… but it’s the same idea: justice.”

Eric Clapton recorded a cover version that was included on his 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard.

I Shot the Sheriff was again featured on Marley’s 1984 album, Legend. The 14-track-project debuted at 54 on the Billboard 200 in that year. It also has songs like Is This Love, No Woman No Cry, Three Little Birds, Get Up Stand Up, Buffalo Soldier, Exodus, Stir it Up, BBC’s Song of the Century One Love, Redemption Song, Jamming, and Waiting in Vain.

Legend was a regular fixture on the 200 chart, until 1991 — when Billboard made “old” albums ineligible for the listing. In 2009, Billboard repealed that rule and the album returned to chart and later peaked at five in 2014.

Legend still holds the number one position on the weekly Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

Marley died on May 11, 1981 after his battle with cancer. He was 36.

Kediesha Perry

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