Included here is a very rare demo recording of the classic Bob Marley and the Wailers tune “Waiting In Vain.” Co-written by organist and Wailers Musical Director Tyrone Downey, “Waiting In Vain” is one of Marley’s most recognizable and beloved songs. It is included of course on the Exodus album which is considered by many to be Marley’s crowning achievement (though I would disagree).
The album’s production has been characterized as laid-back with pulsating bass beats and an emphasis on piano, trumpet and guitar. Unlike previous albums from the band, Exodus thematically moves away from cryptic story-telling; instead it revolves around themes of change, religious politics, and sexuality. The album is split into two halves: the first half revolves around religious politics, while the second half is focused on themes of making love and keeping faith.
On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck with a bullet, but he survived. Following the assassination attempt, Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London, where Exodus was recorded.
The album was a success both critically and commercially; it received gold certifications in the US, UK and Canada, and was the album that propelled Marley to international stardom. In 2017, Exodus was remastered and re-released for its 40th anniversary. There are more tracks from Exodus on Marley’s greatest hits compilation Legend than from any of his other records. Exodus was his tenth album since the debut album The Wailing Wailers in 1965, including the live album Live! (1975).
Marley had conceived “Exodus” as the album title before even writing the song.
In December 1976, Jamaica was going through elections, generating substantial political discourse. In his campaign, Prime Minister Michael Manley used the campaign slogan “We know where we’re going.” In response Marley wrote “Exodus”, which is the title track of the album. The song became a No. 1 hit in Jamaica as well as the United Kingdom and Germany.
In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list, re-ranking at number 71 in a 2020 revised list.