Monday, July 25, 2011

Redemption Song

I discovered Redemption Song on the Rolling Stone top 500 songs list. It is listed as #66, stuck between #65 Sunshine of Your Love by Cream and #67 Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley. I had never heard it before, as I have never been acquainted with Bob Marley's music.

The song Redemption Song is the final song on Bob Marley's album Uprising, the last album that was released during his life time. (One more album, Confrontation, came out after his death.) The lyrics for the song were taken from a speech given by journalist and orator, Marcus Garvey. "We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind."

At the time Marley wrote Redemption Song, he had already been diagnosed with melanoma. He was already dealing with a lot of pain issues and his own mortality. Many consider it to be a sort of summing up of Marley beliefs and it is considered some of his best work.

Marley died in 1981 at age 36.




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 mind.
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.

2 Responses to “Redemption Song”

Jilly Dybka said...
August 9, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Thanks - I didn't know he'd written it post-diagnoses etc.


Jilly Dybka said...
August 9, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Thanks - I didn't know he'd written it post-diagnoses etc.