The Wailers, one of the world’s most popular reggae bands, is coming to the Collins Center for the Arts (CCA) on Feb. 21.
Known for their famous late front man, Bob Marley, and their classic hits like “One Love” and “Three Little Birds,” The Wailers have sold over 250 million albums worldwide. They perform an average of 200 times per year, and they’ve played to an estimated 24 million people. Despite Marley’s death, The Wailers have continued to thrive.
They’ve also made Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” with their hit album “Legend.” That same album is the best-selling reggae album of all time, with 30 million copies sold internationally. Time magazine has named their album “Exodus” as the “Album of the 20th Century” following its release in 1977.
With all this international success, it’s easy to understand the excitement around campus.
Michael Bailey, a student and reggae-lover, is just one of many who plan on attending the concert.
“I am very excited about The Wailers coming to campus,” Bailey said. “I’ve heard a bit of chatter on campus about them. I think many are unaware of how ‘big’ they are because they only know former head-man Bob Marley. But once that is explained, students become very excited.”
Former front-man Marley passed away on May 11, 1981, but that did not stop The Wailers. They are now in their fifth decade of writing and performing songs.
According to The Wailers’ website, “reggae music has never stopped evolving but for millions of people around the world it’s still defined by the songs of Bob Marley and the [sic] Wailers.”
Danny Williams, executive director for the CCA, agrees.
“If you ask anybody to name a reggae band, they’re gonna say, probably, Bob Marley & The Wailers,” Williams said. “They know the music.”
“One of the reasons I was interested in seeing The Wailers here is because you don’t get to hear that music live very often, so that was another sort of appeal. That the Collins Center for the Arts, you know, as much as we do try to present popular things, we also try to present things that are culturally interesting as well. Things you may not hear in other places,” Williams said. “Even on the radio … You could spend all day looking for a [radio] station and not hear a reggae song, so it’s a kind of music that doesn’t get played a lot.”
Bailey believes that The Wailers’ music has remained at the forefront of popular music for a reason.
“[Their music] is still relevant. The issues they bring attention to with their music and their message of Love conquering these issues really speaks to people, all over the world. The message of such famous songs like ‘One Love’ transcends all of our social constructs and connects to people because at the end of the day everyone just wants a harmonious, happy and loving existence,” Bailey said via email.
Advertising for The Wailers’ performance has extended farther than their normal advertising realm, according to Karen Cole, associate director for the CCA.
“Where aren’t we advertising? We’re on radio, on all kinds of different stations in Bangor, print advertising, and just getting the word out through our social media avenues and Facebook promotions … We’re distributing posters in all kinds of different places we don’t normally go to … we’re really trying to [get to] where the fans are,” Cole said. “We’re trying to be all over campus wherever we can.”
Williams thinks the show will be a landmark for the CCA.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun, exciting energetic show. You know, to have, really, a historic band like that … is a feather in our [the CCA’s] cap. I’m excited that people seem excited about it,” Williams added.
“It’s the kind of show we haven’t offered here as long as I’ve been here … we’re thrilled to offer something that the students will be excited to see,” Cole said. “I think this is a show that will appeal to them more than any other show that’s occurred.”
Tickets are $23 for general admission, $18 to sit in the balcony and $10 with a student MaineCard. For more information, contact the CCA box office at (207) 581-1755.
For more information about The Wailers, visit their website at http://www.wailers.com/