Redemption Song

Bob Marley & the Wailers, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Bob Marley

About Redemption Song

"Redemption Song" is a song by Bob Marley. It is the final track on Bob Marley & the Wailers' ninth album, Uprising, produced by Chris Blackwell and released by Island Records. The song is considered one of Marley's greatest works. Some key lyrics derived from a speech given by the Pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey entitled "The Work That Has Been Done". At the time he wrote the song, circa 1979, Bob Marley had been diagnosed with the cancer in his toe that later took his life. According to Rita Marley, "he was already secretly in a lot of pain and dealt with his own mortality, a feature that is clearly apparent in the album, particularly in this song". Unlike most of Bob Marley's tracks, it is strictly a solo acoustic recording, consisting of his singing and playing an acoustic guitar, without accompaniment. The song is in the key of G major. "Redemption Song" was released as a single in the UK and France in October 1980, and included a full band rendering of the song. This version has since been included as a bonus track on the 2001 reissue of Uprising, as well as on the 2001 compilation One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers. Although in live performances the full band was used for the song, the solo recorded performance remains the take most familiar to listeners. In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the song at #66 among "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the Top 20 Political Songs. 


Year:
1998
2:27
73,053 
#27

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Old pirates, yes, they rob I,
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly.
Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it's just a part of it,
We've got to fulfill the Book.

Won't you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs,
Redemption songs.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
'Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it's just a part of it,
We've got to fulfill the book.
Won't you have to sing
These songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever had,
Redemption songs,
All I ever had,
Redemption songs,
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.

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Bob Marley

Nesta Robert Marley OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981), more widely and commonly known as Bob Marley, was a Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician. He was the rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band Bob Marley & The Wailers (1963–1981). Marley remains the most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience. more »

17 fans

Written by: Bob Marley

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


14 facts about this song

Creation
"Redemption Song" was written and performed by Bob Marley in his last work, the 1980 album "Uprising".
Genre
It is a folk song that stems from Marley's Jamaican and Rastafari cultural heritage, which combines spiritual elements. Different from Marley’s regular reggae beat, "Redemption Song" is a pure acoustic ballad.
Influences
The song was influenced by a speech given by the Pan-Africanist speaker Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia during October 1937.
Lyrics
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds" - This poignant verse in the song is a direct quote from Marcus Garvey's speech.
Honors
In 2004, Rolling Stone placed ‘Redemption Song’ at no. 66 among ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.
Cover Versions
The song has been covered by many artists across genres, including performers like Joe Strummer of The Clash, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, and Stevie Wonder.
Concert Performances
"Redemption Song" was performed by The Wailers during their final tour with Marley in 1980, often as part of the encore.
Marley's Health
When Marley wrote "Redemption Song", he was in the advanced stages of cancer, making the song a foreboding of his own mortality.
Album Version
The version of the song appearing on the album "Uprising" is a solo performance by Marley accompanied by his acoustic guitar, while another mix that includes full band appears on the compilation album "Legend".
Public Usage
"Redemption Song" has been used in numerous public protest movements worldwide, due to its potent political and spiritual message.
Last Song on Final Album
The song is notable for being the last track on Bob Marley's final album, "Uprising," before his death in 1981.
Music Video Release
Despite the song being released in 1980, its official music video debuted in 2019, to commemorate what would have been Marley’s 75th birthday.
Symbol of Resistance
Over time, "Redemption Song" has assumed an iconic status as a symbol of resistance and liberation from oppressive systems.
Multi-Language Covers
The song has been translated and covered in many languages, further extending its global reach and influence.

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