Bob Marley and the Wailers’ hard-hitting 1979 album Survival will be reissued by Tuff Gong in a 40th anniversary, 180 gram clear vinyl edition on 22 November.
First released on 2 October 1979, Marley and the band’s 11th studio album was a notable change of musical direction for the reggae figurehead. The politically-charged set espoused themes of African unity, featuring all-new compositions by Marley with such titles as ‘Zimbabwe,’ ‘Africa Unite’ and the lead single ‘So Much Trouble In The World.’
The memorable cover art featured no fewer than 48 African flags, and was designed by Jamaican-born artist-photographer Neville Garrick. Marley was a courageous opponent of African apartheid: in July 1979, three months before the release of Survival, Marley and the Wailers had appeared at the Amandla (“festival of unity” event in Boston, Massachusetts. He had been awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations in 1978.
Recorded early in 1979 at Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, Survival arrived just over 18 months after the band’s previous album Kaya. It turned out to be the penultimate new studio work of Marley’s lifetime, followed in June 1980 by Uprising. The Survival set reached No. 20 in the UK, long one of the reggae ambassadors’ strongholds, and went gold in Canada and platinum in Spain.
Chris Bohn’s review of Survival in Melody Maker at the time of its first release enthused: “Some people mellow as they get older. Bob Marley gets angrier and wiser. Following the relaxed, self-fulfilled Exodus and Kaya, Survival marks a surprising but welcome return to the frontline of political entertainment with a passion strengthened by reasoned analysis and the most beautiful singing I’ve heard in a long time.”
Chris Salewicz’s book Bob Marley: The Untold Story says of Survival: “There wasn’t a single love song on this militant masterpiece, but hard-hitting tunes that were commentaries on social evils.”
Survival is reissued on 22 November. Pre-order it here.