Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Redemption Song

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds"

"Redemption Song" is the final track on Bob Marley and the Wailers ninth album, Uprising. The song considered one of Marley's seminal works, with lyrics derived from a speech given by the Pan-African orator Marcus Garvey.

At the time that he wrote this song in 1979, Bob had been diagnosed with the cancer that ultimately took his life. According to his wife "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 this song". Unlike most of his tracks, this one is a simple solo acoustic recording, it was just Bob singing and playing an acoustic guitar without accompaniment. When he started to play it live with the Wailers, some small drums were added to the back. 

In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the song at number #66 among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. 
(I think it should be higher)

What is important in this song is the lyrics, which is why I'm including a hauntingly beautiful cover of it by Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer. 


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