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Charted: November 17, 1979

Rating: 4.190 (average of 16 ratings)

Genre: reggae

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. So Much Trouble in the World
  2. Zimbabwe
  3. Top Rankin’
  4. Babylon System
  5. Survival
  6. Africa Unite
  7. One Drop
  8. Ride Natty Ride
  9. Ambush in the Night
  10. Wake Up and Live


sales in U.S. only --
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 3 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 70
peak on U.K. album chart 20


  • Wake Up and Live (7/79) #93 RB
  • So Much Trouble in the World (9/79) #56 UK
  • Survival (11/79) --
  • One Drop (11/79) --
  • Zimbabwe (3/80) --

Notes: The 2001 "Definitive Remaster" of Survival includes a bonus track featuring the 12" extended version of "Ride Natty Ride," previously only available on CD in the Songs of Freedom box set.

Bob Marley & The Wailers
“Containing what is considered Marley's most defiant and politically charged statement to date, Survival concerns itself with the expressed solidarity of not only Africa, but of humanity at large. The album was controversial right down to the jacket, which contains a crude schematic of the stowage compartment of a typical transatlantic slave ship. Survival is intended as a wake-up call for everyman to resist and fight oppression in all of its insidious forms. From Tyrone Downie's opening synthesizer strains on So Much Trouble in the World to the keyboard accents emerging throughout Zimbabwe, the sounds of Survival are notably modern” (Planer).

“The overwhelming influence of contemporary African music is also cited with the incorporation of brass, á la Fela Kuti and his horn-driven Africa '70. While Top Rankin’, Ride Natty Ride, and Wake Up and Live are the most obvious to benefit from this influence, there are other and often more subtle inspirations scattered throughout. Survival could rightly be considered a concept album. Marley had rarely been so pointed and persistent in his content. The days of the musical parable are more or less replaced by direct and confrontational lyrics. From the subversive ‘Zimbabwe’ — which affirms the calls for the revolution and ultimate liberation of the South African country — to the somewhat more introspective and optimistic Africa Unite, the message of this album is clearly a call to arms for those wanting to abolish the subjugation and tyranny of not only Africans, but all humankind. Likewise, Survival reinforces the image of Marley as a folk hero to those suffering from oppression” (Planer).

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Links:

Previous Album: Kaya (1978) Bob Marley’s DMDB page Next Album: Uprising (1980)

Last updated April 6, 2008.