27 happy reggae songs

27 Happy Reggae Songs: Happy Reggae Hits

27 Happy Reggae Songs: Happy Reggae Hits

Hey everyone, TBone here, the heart and soul behind Level Tunes. As a DJ with over 20 years of spinning tracks and a lifelong music aficionado, there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the vibes that move me.

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you a special collection close to my heart: 27 Happy Reggae Songs.

Why reggae, you ask?

Well, there’s something about reggae’s upbeat rhythms and positive messages that always lifts my spirits. I’ve poured my love for this genre into curating this list, selecting tracks that have not only resonated with me throughout my career but are also guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a bounce to your step.

Whether you’re a fellow DJ looking to inject some joy into your sets or a music lover on the hunt for tunes that warm the soul, this list is for you. Let’s dive into the good vibes together!

Here are the happy reggae songs that you can check out:

List Of Happy Reggae Songs

Happy reggae songs in a list format:

1. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Exodus
Year: 1977
Record Label: Island Records

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers is more than just a song; it’s a timeless anthem of positivity and reassurance that has resonated with listeners worldwide since its release on the iconic “Exodus” album in 1977. Bob Marley, with his soothing vocals and the harmonious backing of The Wailers, invites us into a serene world where every little thing is going to be alright. This track stands out not just for its catchy melody and uplifting lyrics but also for the masterful musicianship that Marley and his band were known for. The song’s simplicity in message, combined with the rich, vibrant rhythms of reggae, captures the essence of why I adore this genre. It’s a reminder of the power of music to uplift and heal, making it a must-have on any list of happy reggae songs.

2. “You Can Get It If You Really Want” by Jimmy Cliff

Album: The Harder They Come
Year: 1972
Record Label: Island Records

Jimmy Cliff’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want” is a testament to determination and resilience, wrapped in the feel-good rhythms of reggae. Featured on the soundtrack of the groundbreaking film “The Harder They Come,” this 1972 hit not only showcases Cliff’s compelling vocal delivery but also his ability to inspire and motivate through music. The song’s message, emphasizing persistence and optimism in the face of adversity, is universally relatable and has made it an enduring classic. What I love about this track is its infectious energy and the way it blends Cliff’s dynamic performance with upbeat, catchy arrangements. It’s a powerful reminder that with belief in oneself, anything is achievable, making it a perfect selection for anyone in need of a musical pick-me-up.

3. “Red Red Wine” by UB40

Album: Labour of Love
Year: 1983
Record Label: Virgin Records

UB40’s rendition of “Red Red Wine” transforms Neil Diamond’s classic into a reggae masterpiece, introducing the genre to audiences far and wide. Featured on their 1983 album “Labour of Love,” this track became a worldwide hit, thanks to its smooth vocals, laid-back rhythms, and the distinctive twist UB40 added to the original composition. The song’s relaxed vibe and the way it seamlessly blends reggae with a hint of pop make it an unforgettable track that transcends time and genre boundaries. What captures me every time I listen to “Red Red Wine” is its ability to transport listeners to a state of carefree bliss, showcasing the band’s talent in crafting songs that resonate emotionally while keeping you grooving. It’s a celebration of reggae’s adaptability and appeal, making it a cornerstone of any happy reggae playlist.

4. “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Kaya
Year: 1978
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” from the album “Kaya” is a heartwarming declaration of love and companionship. Marley’s soothing voice, combined with the Wailers’ mellow rhythms, creates a track that’s not just a song but an experience. Released in 1978, this song showcases Marley’s genius in writing lyrics that speak directly to the soul, enveloped in the comforting embrace of reggae. The reason this song makes my list is its ability to evoke feelings of love and unity, making it an anthem for lovers and dreamers alike. The song’s upbeat tempo, paired with its romantic lyrics, showcases reggae’s versatility and Marley’s unmatched ability to convey profound emotions in a universally relatable way.

5. “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” by Inner Circle

Album: Bad to the Bone
Year: 1992
Record Label: Big Beat Records

Inner Circle’s “Sweat (A La La La La Long)” is a reggae fusion song that became an instant hit in the early ’90s, known for its catchy chorus and sultry lyrics. Featured on their album “Bad to the Bone,” this track stands out for its smooth blend of reggae with elements of pop and dance, creating a sound that’s both intoxicating and invigorating. The song’s infectious rhythm and memorable melody capture the essence of what makes reggae so enjoyable—its ability to make you move and feel good. I chose this song for its playful energy and the way it encourages listeners to let loose and embrace the joy of music.

6. “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Natty Dread
Year: 1974
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

While “No Woman, No Cry” might not seem like a typical ‘happy’ song due to its somber lyrics, Bob Marley & The Wailers’ rendition on the “Natty Dread” album is a masterclass in transforming poignant narratives into uplifting musical experiences. This song is a powerful ode to resilience and hope in the face of adversity. Marley’s empathetic delivery and the live version’s communal energy turn it into a healing anthem. The song’s gentle, reassuring groove and Marley’s soulful vocals make it a beacon of comfort and strength. It’s included in this list for its profound ability to uplift spirits, demonstrating reggae’s power to find light in the darkness.

7. “Here I Come” by Barrington Levy

Album: Barrington
Year: 1983
Record Label: Time 1 International

Barrington Levy’s “Here I Come” is a vibrant track that epitomizes the energetic spirit of reggae. Known for his unique voice, Levy brings a sense of urgency and excitement to this song, making it impossible not to feel invigorated. The track, from his album “Barrington,” features a catchy chorus and a rhythm that compels you to move. What makes “Here I Come” stand out is its blend of traditional reggae sounds with Levy’s innovative vocal style, creating a timeless hit that continues to energize audiences. This song is a celebration of life and music’s power to inspire and motivate, making it a perfect addition to any collection of feel-good reggae tunes.

8. “Buffalo Soldier” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Confrontation
Year: 1983
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

“Buffalo Soldier” stands as one of Bob Marley’s posthumously released anthems, a song that combines a compelling narrative with an irresistible reggae beat. Featured on the “Confrontation” album, it tells the story of African American soldiers in the 19th century, drawing parallels to the struggles and resilience of the African diaspora. What makes “Buffalo Soldier” a song of happiness and inspiration is its ability to transform a tale of struggle into a message of strength, unity, and hope. Marley’s skillful storytelling and the vibrant rhythms make this track a beacon of light, showcasing the power of reggae music to elevate and educate.

9. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff

Album: We All Are One: The Best Of Jimmy Cliff
Year: 1993 (Cover Version)
Record Label: Columbia

Jimmy Cliff’s rendition of “I Can See Clearly Now” breathes new life into the Johnny Nash classic, turning it into a reggae powerhouse of optimism. This cover, which Cliff recorded for the soundtrack of the movie “Cool Runnings,” is a testament to his ability to infuse songs with a unique spirit that uplifts and inspires. The track’s sunny vibes and Cliff’s soulful delivery create a sense of renewal and hope, perfect for anyone looking for a musical ray of sunshine. Its inclusion here is a nod to reggae’s capacity to reinterpret and revitalize, making even well-known tunes feel fresh and vibrant.

10. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

Album: Simple Pleasures
Year: 1988
Record Label: EMI

While not a reggae song in the traditional sense, Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” embodies the genre’s essence with its laid-back vibe and positive message. This a cappella track, which won the Grammy for Song of the Year, proves that the spirit of reggae can transcend instrumentation, lying instead in the feel-good, carefree ethos it promotes. McFerrin’s playful vocal rhythms and uplifting lyrics make this song a universal anthem of joy and a reminder of the simple power of a smile. Its inclusion in this list highlights the broad influence of reggae’s optimistic spirit.

11. “Sun Is Shining” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Kaya
Year: 1978
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

“Sun Is Shining” is another masterpiece from Bob Marley & The Wailers that radiates positive energy and the warmth of the sun itself. Originally recorded in 1971 and later featured on the “Kaya” album, this track is a soothing blend of laid-back rhythms and harmonious melodies that speak to the soul. Marley’s lyrics, promoting peace and personal reflection, combined with the song’s smooth reggae grooves, make “Sun Is Shining” a perfect soundtrack for any day looking for a bit of brightness. Its serene vibe and optimistic outlook exemplify why Marley remains a towering figure in music.

12. “Smile Jamaica” by Chronixx

Album: Chronology
Year: 2017
Record Label: Chronixx Music

“Smile Jamaica” by Chronixx is a modern reggae anthem that captures the spirit of the island it celebrates. From his 2017 album “Chronology,” this song is a heartfelt tribute to Jamaica’s enduring spirit and beauty. Chronixx’s contemporary take on reggae combines traditional roots with a fresh, vibrant sound that appeals to a new generation of listeners. The song’s catchy chorus and uplifting lyrics encourage smiles and positivity, making it a beacon of modern reggae’s power to inspire joy and pride. “Smile Jamaica” is a testament to the genre’s evolving nature while staying true to its core message of love and unity.

13. “Positive Vibration” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Rastaman Vibration
Year: 1976
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Positive Vibration” from the album “Rastaman Vibration” is a powerful call to embrace positivity and love. Released in 1976, this song serves as a reminder of the transformative power of positive thinking and the strength found in unity. Marley’s lyrics, combined with the Wailers’ compelling rhythms, create an atmosphere of hope and encouragement. The reason “Positive Vibration” makes this list is its ability to uplift spirits and inspire change through its infectious melody and timeless message. It’s a perfect example of how reggae music can be a force for good, promoting peace and happiness.

14. “One Love/People Get Ready” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Album: Exodus
Year: 1977
Record Label: Tuff Gong/Island Records

“One Love/People Get Ready” is a song that has become synonymous with Bob Marley and the message of reggae itself. Blending “One Love” with Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” this track from the “Exodus” album is an anthem for unity and collective upliftment. Released in 1977, its catchy chorus and simple yet profound lyrics invite listeners to come together in love and harmony. The song’s enduring appeal lies in its optimistic vision of the world, making it an essential track for anyone seeking solace and joy through music. It’s a testament to Marley’s genius in creating music that transcends cultural and racial boundaries.

15. “54-46 Was My Number” by Toots and the Maytals

Album: In the Dark
Year: 1973
Record Label: Dragon

“54-46 Was My Number” by Toots and the Maytals is a classic reggae tune with a lively beat and a compelling backstory. This song, from their “In the Dark” album, is often seen as a musical autobiography of Toots Hibbert’s time in prison, yet it’s delivered with such infectious energy and spirit that it becomes an anthem of resilience and freedom. The track’s vibrant horn sections and Hibbert’s soulful voice make it impossible not to dance and feel uplifted. Its inclusion here celebrates the joyous defiance and strength found in reggae music, making “54-46 Was My Number” a symbol of triumph over adversity.

16. “Kingston Town” by UB40

Album: Labour of Love II
Year: 1989
Record Label: DEP International

UB40’s “Kingston Town” is a smooth, reggae-infused track that captures the beauty and longing for a place that feels like paradise. Featured on their “Labour of Love II” album, this song is a cover of Lord Creator’s original, but UB40 adds their signature pop-reggae twist, making it a global hit. The song’s dreamy melody and the band’s polished performance make “Kingston Town” a standout track that evokes a sense of nostalgia and wanderlust. It’s chosen for this list for its ability to transport listeners to a happier, sunnier place through its melodious charm and romantic imagery.

17. “Tomorrow People” by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers

Album: Conscious Party
Year: 1988
Record Label: Virgin Records

“Tomorrow People” by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers is a vibrant track that carries the legacy of reggae into a new generation. From the “Conscious Party” album, this song combines catchy pop sensibilities with the reggae rhythm, reflecting on the future and the potential for change. Ziggy Marley, stepping into his own as an artist outside of his father Bob Marley’s shadow, delivers a message of hope and questioning, urging listeners to consider their place in the world’s future. Its upbeat tempo and thought-provoking lyrics make “Tomorrow People” a beacon of optimism and a celebration of youth’s power to make a difference.

18. “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant

Album: Killer on the Rampage
Year: 1982
Record Label: Ice Records

Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” is a reggae-fusion track that became a defining anthem of the early ’80s. Named after a market street in London, the song addresses the economic hardships and riots of the time, yet it’s delivered with such an irresistible beat and catchy chorus that it became a dancefloor favorite. “Electric Avenue” showcases Grant’s ability to blend social commentary with

energetic, engaging music, making listeners dance while reflecting on deeper issues. Its inclusion in this joyful reggae list highlights the genre’s power to address serious topics in a way that uplifts and mobilizes, proving that music can be both fun and thought-provoking.

19. “Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M.

Album: Nightflight to Venus
Year: 1978
Record Label: Hansa International

While originally performed by The Melodians, “Rivers of Babylon” gained worldwide fame through Boney M.’s disco-infused cover. This song, from their “Nightflight to Venus” album, beautifully blends pop and reggae elements, creating a sound that’s both soothing and groovy. The track’s lyrical content, based on Psalm 137, speaks of longing and displacement, yet its melody and harmonies evoke a sense of hope and resilience. The reason for its selection is the way it demonstrates reggae’s global influence, showing how its themes of exile and longing resonate across cultures, wrapped in a melody that’s universally appealing.

20. “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth

Album: The Youth of Today
Year: 1982
Record Label: MCA Records

“Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth is a vibrant track that took the world by storm in the early ’80s. This song, a playful adaptation of The Mighty Diamonds’ “Pass the Kouchie,” is about the struggles of poverty, yet its upbeat rhythm and catchy chorus turned it into a feel-good hit. The band, consisting of young musicians, brought a fresh energy to reggae, making “Pass the Dutchie” a symbol of youthful optimism and creativity. Its inclusion here celebrates the genre’s ability to engage and inspire across generations, proving that music has the power to transcend age and uplift spirits.

21. “Cherry Oh Baby” by UB40

Album: Labour of Love
Year: 1983
Record Label: DEP International

UB40’s “Cherry Oh Baby,” a cover of Eric Donaldson’s classic, showcases the band’s knack for reinventing reggae hits with their distinctive sound. Featured on their “Labour of Love” album, this track combines smooth vocals, a catchy melody, and a laid-back rhythm that’s impossible not to enjoy. The song’s themes of love and longing are universal, yet UB40’s version adds a layer of polish and pop sensibility, making it accessible to a wider audience. “Cherry Oh Baby” is chosen for its demonstration of reggae’s enduring appeal and its ability to connect with listeners through tales of the heart.

22. “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle

Album: One Way
Year: 1987
Record Label: Capitol Records

Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys” became an anthem of sorts, especially known as the theme song for the TV show “Cops.” However, beyond its association with law enforcement, the track stands on its own as a reggae classic with a catchy hook and a groovy beat. The song’s success lies in its combination of a memorable riff, engaging lyrics, and Inner Circle’s energetic performance. “Bad Boys” is included for its ability to create a fun, engaging listening experience that embodies the spirit of reggae music: lively, rebellious, and endlessly catchy.

23. “I Shot the Sheriff” by Eric Clapton

Album: 461 Ocean Boulevard
Year: 1974
Record Label: RSO

Eric Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” brought reggae to rock audiences, showcasing the genre’s versatility and appeal. From his album “461 Ocean Boulevard,” Clapton’s version adds a rock twist to the reggae classic, while still preserving its original spirit and message. The song’s narrative of injustice and resistance, combined with Clapton’s guitar work and vocal delivery, make it a unique crossover hit. Its inclusion highlights reggae’s influence on other music genres and its ability to convey powerful stories through a blend of musical styles.

24. “Love Has Found Its Way” by Dennis Brown

Album: Love Has Found Its Way
Year: 1982
Record Label: A&M Records

Dennis Brown, often hailed as the “Crown Prince of Reggae,” delivers a message of romantic bliss in “Love Has Found Its Way.” This track, the title song from his album, combines Brown’s soulful vocals with lush instrumentation, creating a smooth reggae sound that’s both uplifting and soothing. The song’s celebration of love and happiness, paired with Brown’s emotive delivery, showcases reggae’s capacity to touch on universal themes with depth and warmth. “Love Has Found Its Way” is chosen for its heartfelt expression and the way it illustrates reggae’s ability to convey complex emotions in an accessible, moving manner.

Fun Facts: Happy Reggae Songs

“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

  • Fun Fact: Bob Marley was inspired to write “Three Little Birds” by actual birds that he used to see near his home. The song’s message of “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright” is often interpreted as Marley’s reassuring words to his audience, telling them to keep a positive outlook on life.

“You Can Get It If You Really Want” by Jimmy Cliff

  • Fun Fact: This song was used as a motivational anthem in the movie “The Harder They Come,” in which Jimmy Cliff plays the lead role. The film is considered a significant contributor to the international popularity of reggae music, and Cliff’s performance both on-screen and on the soundtrack solidified his place as a reggae legend.

“Red Red Wine” by UB40

  • Fun Fact: UB40’s cover of Neil Diamond’s “Red Red Wine” significantly differs from the original, with its reggae style giving the song a completely new feel. Interestingly, Neil Diamond has praised UB40’s version and has been known to perform the song in UB40’s reggae style at his concerts.

“No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

  • Fun Fact: Contrary to what some may think, the title “No Woman, No Cry” is not a call for a life without women. In Jamaican Patois, it’s actually a comforting phrase, meaning “No, woman, don’t cry.” The song is a reminder to find strength and hope even in tough times.

“Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth

  • Fun Fact: “Pass the Dutchie” is a song that was adapted from “Pass the Kouchie” by The Mighty Diamonds, which was about smoking cannabis. However, Musical Youth changed the lyrics to refer to a “Dutchie,” which is a type of cooking pot, to make the song more radio-friendly and suitable for their younger audience. The change didn’t hinder the song’s success; it became a global hit and defined the early ’80s music scene.

“Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant

  • Fun Fact: “Electric Avenue” is named after a market street in the Brixton area of London, known for its vibrant Caribbean community. The song talks about the 1981 Brixton riot, a significant event in London’s history, reflecting on the tension and hardship of the time. Despite its serious subject matter, the song’s catchy beat turned it into a dance hit.

Diving into these reggae classics reveals not just the rhythms that define a genre but the stories and spirits behind them. Each song carries a message of love, resilience, and unity, inviting us to find our own stories within their beats. Let’s keep the positive vibrations flowing and embrace the joy and unity reggae music brings to the world.

Thanks for reading.


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