Jimmy Cliff has always occupied an odd position in reggae music, first of all because he predates it significantly, but also because for much of his career he merged his musical interests with international pop considerations to the extent that he managed to record frequently for such major labels as Warner, EMI, Universal, and Sony. Although his commercial success was spotty, it was recurrent; he first hit the charts internationally in 1969 and was still scoring occasionally in the mid-'90s. His label hopping had made it practically impossible to assemble a thorough compilation of his work until the release of Anthology. Universal's Hip-O reissue subsidiary specializes in putting together anthologies that span record labels, and the compilers had quite a task on their hands when it came to Cliff.
Rolling Stone Magazine released a list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in November 2004. It represents an eclectic mix of music spanning the past 50 years, and contains a wide variety of artists sharing the spotlight. The Rolling Stone 500 was compiled by 172 voters comprised of rock artists and well-known rock music experts, who submitted ranked lists of their favorite 50 Rock & Roll/Pop music songs. The songs were then tallied to create the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.