Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1977 song Natural Mystic is the legendary Reggae band’s 13th song to surpass 100 million plays on Spotify.
The track, which crossed the milestone on August 18, joins Three Little Birds (824m), Could You Be Loved (726m), Is This Love (636m), Jammin’ (444m), Buffalo Soldier (419m), One Love (413m), Redemption Song (306m), No Woman, No Cry (Live At Lyceum) (281m), Waiting In Vain (244m), Stir It Up (166m), Is This Love (Remix) (154m), and Satisfy My Soul (149m) as Marley’s most streamed songs on the platform.
First recorded in 1975 and then re-recorded in 1977 for the Exodus album at Island’s Basing Street Studios in London, Natural Mystic is a stirring anthem that distinctly captures Marley’s overarching musical ethos.
The song also appeared on the Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On collection, which peaked at No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart in June 1995. The album served as an addendum to the Diamond-certified Legend collection from 1984.
While Legend predominantly featured his love-oriented tunes, The Legend Lives On delved into his more politically charged and religious-themed compositions. It presented themes of unity and salvation on tracks like Africa Unite, societal turbulence in So Much Trouble In The World and Crazy Baldhead, and Marley’s own role as a persecuted leader in Iron Lion Zion.
The inclusion of Kaya cuts such as Easy Shanking, Sun Is Shining, and Time Will Tell enriched the album’s fabric. However, it’s the title track Natural Mystic, that beckons listeners into a contemplative sanctuary.
It’s within that intersection of deeply spiritual themes and soothing melodies that Natural Mystic endures as a timeless composition. It effectively carries the torch of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ ethos of unity and freedom, and grounds itself in an eternally relevant message.
Beyond those elements, sonically, Natural Mystic’s rumbling bass line is almost impossible to ignore. Complemented by a kick drum, played on the original recording by Carly Barrett, Marley’s smooth and iconic entry to begin the track instantly got to the heart of the thought-provoking issues brought to the fore. Those messages take on a far more compelling and almost prophetic weight when the regal horns are ushered in, unmistakably communicating the reckoning Marley had been intentional about conveying, particularly when he first recorded the track for legendary producer, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at Black Ark Studio back in 1975.
The song might be among those featured in Paramount Pictures’ upcoming Bob Marley biopic, which will primarily focus on his life between 1975 and 1977, when he recorded Exodus in London, after an assassination attempt in Jamaica.