Rastaman Vibration is a reggae album by Bob Marley and the Wailers released on 30 April 1976. The album was a great success in the US, becoming the first Bob Marley release to reach the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart (peaking at number 8), in addition to releasing Marley’s most popular US single “Roots, Rock, Reggae”, the only Marley single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at no. 51. Synthesizers are featured prominently on this album, adding a breezy embellishment to otherwise hard-driving songs with strong elements of rock guitar. This is one of the three Wailers solo albums released in 1976, along with Blackheart Man by Bunny Wailer and Legalize It by Peter Tosh.
Although the album’s liner notes list multiple songwriters, including family friends and band members, all songs were written by Marley. Marley was involved in a contractual dispute at the time with his former publishing company, Cayman music. Marley had not wanted his new songs to be associated with Cayman and it was speculated, including in his obituary in The Independent, that he had put them in the names of his friends and family members as a means of avoiding the contractual restrictions and to provide lasting help to family and close friends.
Vincent Ford, a childhood friend from Jamaica, is the songwriter for “No Woman, No Cry” on the 1974 album Natty Dread, as well as the songs “Crazy Baldheads” (with Marley’s wife Rita), “Positive Vibration” and “Roots Rock Reggae” from Rastaman Vibration, along with “Inna De Red” and “Jah Bless” with Marley’s son, Stephen.
Marley’s widow and his former manager Danny Sims sued to obtain royalty and ownership rights to the songs, claiming that Marley had actually written the songs but had assigned the credit to Ford to avoid meeting commitments made in prior contracts. A 1987 court decision favored the Marley estate, which assumed full control of the songs.