Although he started singing in Zulu and Africaans languages, Lucky Dube’s best songs fall in neither category. In 1984, the South African artist started writing and singing reggae songs, rising to fame in a short period of time.
If you listen to his music, you’ll realize he sings for the voiceless, for peace, for African identity, and for addressing social issues. These features made his music stand out as they transcended cultural and language barriers.
Sadly, his life was cut short by a gunshot wound suffered during an attempted carjacking on October 18, 2007. His music still inspires and uplifts people across the globe despite his untimely death.
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Lucky Dube Best Songs: Top 10
One of Lucky Dube’s best songs is Slave, which he released in 1987. Slave tells the story of the effects of alcohol. The iconic track speaks of how alcohol makes anyone who drinks it a slave and calls on everyone who drinks to reclaim their freedom from slavery, that is–alcohol.
Dube was one of the advocates against alcohol and drug abuse. He advised his listeners to stop using his music.
This classic is an exceptional track that promotes memories of a loved one. Remember Me spreads love, longing and emotional depth. Released in 1992, the song personally talks about Dube’s upbringing. His mother raised him single-handedly. But often longed for the presence of his father. The song tells the story of single parenting or mothers raising children alone due to reasons beyond their control.
This song has lyrics condemning the choice to lead a life of crime. Dube sang about his life in prison because of his crime, and he wished he had listened when he was advised to seek education as a young boy. He was determined to do better once he was released.
House of Exile
Dube House for Exile was a lamentation of the plight of a man exiled from his roots for the love of his nation. He admonished every man in the song to keep fighting until they experience freedom in their own country. You could tell he was narrating the story of Nelson Mandela.
Together as One
Together as One is one of Lucky Dube’s best songs. The song is popular for its warm reception to everyone across the world to come together to fight for a common good. It promotes unity, peace, solidarity, and oneness beyond boundaries or geography.
Dube urges everyone to drop their differences and unite for the common good.
Similar to Together as One is Dube’s Different Colors, which preaches harmony and acceptance among different races. The song, released in 1993, teaches community and embracing diversity as a way of life.
He calls on politicians not to divide people because they belong to different races or political parties. One of Lucky Dube’s best songs, Different Colors, was released in 1993 when renowned Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace. The song’s release also follows the multiracial election in South Africa in 1994.
It’s Not Easy
This track tackles the challenges you may face in making the wrong choices and how life’s challenges can cause headaches. You’ll love how Dube blends his tone, emotions, and lyrics to create a masterpiece.
The song also encourages you to pick yourself up and try again, with the assurance that you can do it or move on. It’s Not Easy is a communication between a son and his mother on choosing a spouse that didn’t work out.
Back to My Roots
The Back to My Roots album encourages listeners to embrace their heritage and take time to reconnect with their roots. With an infectious reggae groove and uplifting lyrics, Dube inspires people to stay true to themselves. Sometimes literally and sometimes metaphorically, he believes in returning to Africa and reggae music. It’s easy to interpret a song’s meaning from this perspective.
The Way It Is
The song also speaks to everyone in general to treat people with kindness. It calls on you to remember those who helped you climb the ladder.
This song was the elite track for a studio album Dube released in 1999, aimed at politicians. The Way It Is reminds leaders elected by the people to work in favor of the people and not for themselves, as most African leaders do.
The release urges us leaders to take care of the needs of their supporters once they have risen to the throne.
By 1996, when Dube was far ahead in reggae music, he organized other artists to perform in a concert, pushing for peace. The concert was important to preserve peace through reggae music. As fate will have it, the reggae song was the theme song performed at the end of the concert.
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Lucky Dube’s best songs are endless; however, this list tops them all. If you feel nostalgic and need to listen to his songs on repeat, start with these.
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