Bob Marley – Jammin’

I got into Bob Marley and the Wailers a little later but better late than never. Jammin’ is on their ninth studio album Exodus. The album peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts, #8 in the UK, and  #46 in Canada.

In Jamaica, the word “jamming” refers to getting together for a celebration. Although it can also mean an impromptu musical session.

Marley wrote the song in exile in Nassau after the 1976 attempt on his life.

On December 3, 1976 several men raided Marley’s house and shot three included Marley but all survived. It was politically motivated…Marley and his band was rehearsing for a show that some viewed as Marley supporting the Prime Minister and his democratic socialist People’s National Party. Marley claimed he was neutral not supporting anyone. In the song Marley wrote the lyric No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won’t bow.

The gunmen were all captured and executed. The song peaked at #9 in the UK in 1977.

A detailed account of the assassination attempt is here.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2006/jul/16/urban.worldmusic

Jammin’

Ooh, yeah! all right!
We’re jammin’:
I want to jam it wid you.
We’re jammin’, jammin’,
And I hope you like jammin’, too.

Ain’t no rules, ain’t no vow, we can do it anyhow:
I’n’I will see you through,
‘Cause everyday we pay the price with a little sacrifice,
Jammin’ till the jam is through.

We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
We’re jammin’,
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won’t bow;
Neither can be bought nor sold.
We all defend the right; jah – jah children must unite:
Your life is worth much more than gold.

We’re jammin’ (jammin’, jammin’, jammin’)
And we’re jammin’ in the name of the lord;
We’re jammin’ (jammin’, jammin’, jammin’),
We’re jammin’ right straight from yah.

Yeh! holy mount zion;
Holy mount zion:
Jah sitteth in mount zion
And rules all creation.

Yeah, we’re – we’re jammin’ (wotcha-wa),
Wotcha-wa-wa-wa, we’re jammin’ (wotcha-wa),
See, I want to jam it wid you
We’re jammin’ (jammin’, jammin’, jammin’)
I’m jammed: I hope you’re jammin’, too.

Jam’s about my pride and truth I cannot hide
To keep you satisfied.
True love that now exist is the love I can’t resist,
So jam by my side.

We’re jammin’ (jammin’, jammin’, jammin’), yeah-eah-eah!
I want to jam it wid you.
We’re jammin’, we’re jammin’, we’re jammin’, we’re jammin’,
We’re jammin’, we’re jammin’, we’re jammin’, we’re jammin’;

Hope you like jammin’, too.
We’re jammin’, we’re jammin’ (jammin’),
We’re jammin’, we’re jammin’ (jammin’).
I want to (i want to jam it wid you) – I want to –

I want to jam wid you now.
Jammin’, jammin’ (hope you like jammin’ too).
Eh-eh! I hope you like jammin’, I hope you like jammin’,
‘Cause (i want to jam it wid you). I want to … wid you.

I like – I hope you – I hope you like jammin’, too.
I want to jam it;
I want to jam it.

Bob Marley – Stir It Up

It’s hard to feel down when you hear this song. 

This song got me into Bob Marley. He wrote this song in 1967 and recorded it that year and released it as a single. It was later covered by Johnny Nash in 1972 and it peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100 for Johnny.

Bob Marley and the Wailers re-recorded it in 1973 for the “Catch the Fire” album. The Nash version was Bob’s first success outside of Jamaica.

It has been said that Bob Marley wrote this song for his wife Rita.

Bob Marley on Johnny Nash

“He’s a hard worker, but he didn’t know my music. I don’t want to put him down, but Reggae isn’t really his bag,” he said. “We knew of Johnny Nash in Jamaica before he arrived, but we didn’t love him that much: We appreciated him singing the kind of music he does – he was the first US artist to do reggae – but he isn’t really our idol. That’s Otis or James Brown or Pickett, the people who work it more hard.”

From Songfacts

Texas-born singer-songwriter Johnny Nash released his final US hit as a follow-up to his signature tune “I Can See Clearly Now.” Both singles were infused with the reggae sound he brought back from a 1967 trip to Jamaica, where he met up-and-comer Bob Marley. Not only was Marley an assistant producer on Nash’s album, but he also contributed a handful of tunes, including “Stir It Up,” a love song about stirring up desire that Marley wrote for his wife, Rita.

Nash’s version would become Marley’s first hit outside of Jamaica, but he originally recorded it with his own group, The Wailers. After Nash’s success, The Wailers recorded it again for their 1973 album, Catch a Fire. Marley’s version came to the forefront when it appeared on his greatest hits collection Legend in 1984, three years after his death.

In the UK, this was released as the first single, followed by the Nash-penned “I Can See Clearly Now.”

On this track, Nash is backed by the reggae band the Fabulous Five Inc.

A year before the album was released, Marley and Nash collaborated on the score for the Swedish film Vill sa garna tro, which cast Nash in a starring role – but things didn’t go as planned, mainly because no one could find Marley. John “Rabbit” Bundrick, Nash’s keyboardist and co-composer on the score, recalled in the liner notes for Marley’s Songs of Freedom: “I really don’t know what happened to Bob. All I do know is that his air ticket, Johnny’s guitar, and Johnny’s tape recorder all disappeared, along with Bob. Johnny never forgave him for taking his guitar. Bob disappeared as magically as he had arrived.”

Nash put his anger aside when “Stir It Up” became a hit, and invited Marley on a tour of the UK to promote the album.

Diana King covered this for the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings, about a Jamaican bobsled team competing in the Winter Olympics.

In the 2007 movie I Am Legend, Will Smith plays a Bob Marley-obsessed virologist who has survived a zombie apocalypse. When he finally meets another non-infected human, he is horrified to learn she’s never heard of Marley, so he puts on the Legend CD (note the album and movie titles), tells her it’s the best album ever made, and plays “Stir It Up.” Marley’s music is a theme throughout the film, as Smith’s character draws on it for faith. In the film, his daughter is named Marley.

“Stir It Up”

Stir it up; little darlin’, stir it up. Come on, baby.
Come on and stir it up: little darlin’, stir it up. O-oh!It’s been a long, long time, yeah!
(stir it, stir it, stir it together)
Since I got you on my mind. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) Oh-oh!
Now you are here (stir it, stir it, stir it together), I said,
it’s so clear
There’s so much we could do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Just me and you.

 

Come on and stir it up; …, little darlin’!
Stir it up; come on, baby!
Come on and stir it up, yeah!
Little darlin’, stir it up! O-oh!

I’ll push the wood (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
then I blaze ya fire;
Then I’ll satisfy your heart’s desire. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Said, I stir it every (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
every minute:
All you got to do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Is keep it in, eh!

(Stir it up) Oh, little darlin’,
Stir it up; …, baby!
Come on and stir it up, oh-oh-oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up! Wo-oh! Mm, now, now.

Quench me when I’m thirsty;
Come on and cool me down, baby, when I’m hot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Your recipe is, – darlin’ – is so tasty,
When you show and stir your pot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

So: stir it up, oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up; wo, now!
Come on and stir it up, oh-ah!
Little darlin’, stir it up!

[Guitar solo]

Oh, little darlin’, stir it up. Come on, babe!
Come on and stir it up, wo-o-a!
Little darlin’, stir it up! Stick with me, baby!
Come on, come on and stir it up, oh-oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up. [fadeout]

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds

A super positive song that I could listen to at any time. The song peaked at #17 in the UK in 1980 and re-charted at 76 in 1985.

The source of Marley’s inspiration for the lyrics of “Three Little Birds” remains disputed. They are partly inspired by birds that Marley was fond of that used to fly and sit next to his home. A friend of Marley, Tony Gilbert, was present at the time he was writing the song and said that Bob was inspired by things around him as he observed life.

Gilbert said he remembered pretty birds, canaries, who would come by the windowsill at Marley’s home.  However, some say the three female singers in ” I Threes” were the “birds” Marley was talking about. Sometimes he would ask them ‘What are my Three Little Birds saying?”

Either way, it’s a fantastic song.

From Songfacts

This uplifting tune from Bob Marley & The Wailers’ ninth studio album, Exodus, is famous for its reassuring refrain, “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright” – a message Marley received from the birds that frequented his porch stoop in Kingston, Jamaica. “That really happened,” he told Sounds magazine. “That’s where I get my inspiration.”

Despite the troubles Marley faced in Jamaica – in 1976, he survived a politically motivated assassination attempt connected to his support of Prime Minister Michael Manley – the singer still viewed the island as sacred place. “JA is one of the heaviest places in the West spiritually, regardless of what a go on,” he explained.

Marley’s friend Tony “Gilly” Gilbert was present when the singer wrote the song and confirmed Marley had several feathered friends. “It was just amazing how he put the words for ‘Three Little Birds’ together in a flow,” Gilbert told Vivien Goldman, author of The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Album of the Century. “Bob got inspired by a lot of things around him, he observed life. I remember the three little birds. They were pretty birds, canaries, who would come by the windowsill at Hope Road.”

The I Threes, Marley’s vocal backing trio, insist the song is actually about them. Group member Marcia Griffiths (who taught us the Electric Slide) explained: “After the song was written, Bob would always refer to us as the Three Little Birds. After a show, there would be an encore, sometimes people even wanted us to go back onstage four times. Bob would still want to go back and he would say, ‘What is my Three Little Birds saying?'”

She continued: “‘Three Little Birds’ was our song, officially for I-Three. It was more or less expressing how we all came together, when he says, ‘Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun.’ We loved it. Even when we were recording it, we knew that it was our song.”

Marley’s son Ziggy Marley and Sean Paul recorded this for the animated films Shark Tale (2004) and Surf’s Up (2007). Several other artists have covered the song, including Robbie Williams, Karen David, Gilberto Gil, Billy Ocean, Monty Alexander, Alvin and the Chipmunks. Britain’s Got Talent alumna Connie Talbot recorded a popular version for her 2008 album, Over The Rainbow. The single went to #3 on the UK Independent Singles Chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales Chart in the US.

In 2013, Hyundai used a version remixed by Marley’s son Stephen Marley and DJ Jason Bentley (from the Legend: Remixed album) in its All-New Assurance Connected Care Campaign to reflect the automobile manufacturer’s new safety standards. In 2018, the company revisited the tune, this time enlisting Maroon 5 to record it in the Hyundai Santa Fe promotion for the FIFA World Cup. Maroon 5 also released a music video for their version.

Marley’s eldest daughter, Cedella Marley, adapted this into the children’s book Every Little Thing in 2012 and, two years later, the off-Broadway musical Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. The story follows a shy little boy who is coaxed by three little birds to go outside and play.

This was used on the TV shows Boston Legal (“Helping Hand,” 2006), 90210 (“Another, Another Chance,” 2010), Smash (“The Coup,” 2012), and The Handmaid’s Tale (“Birth Day,” 2017).

This was also featured in the movies Club Paradise (1986), Strange Days (1995), In Her Shoes (2005), I Am Legend (2007), Funny People (2009), Ramona and Beezus (2010), and Strange Magic (2015).

Three Little Birds

“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright
Singing’ “Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!”

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying’, (“This is my message to you”)

Singing’ “Don’t worry ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”
Singing’ “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!”

Rise up this mornin’
Smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin’, “This is my message to you”

Singin’ “Don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be alright. Don’t worry!”
Singin’ “Don’t worry about a thing” I won’t worry!
“‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

Singin’ “Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright” I won’t worry!
Singin’ “Don’t worry about a thing
Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”
Singin’ “Don’t worry about a thing, oh no!
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright!

Bob Marley – Get Up, Stand Up

This was the last song Bob Marley performed live. He sang it from a stool at a show in Pittsburgh on September 23, 1980. He had cancer and it near the end. He would die on May 11, 1981.

It was released in 1973 on the Wailers album Burnin’. It’s a great song to start taking action to avoid oppression. Marley wrote it with Peter Tosh, and the song was influenced by their upbringing in Jamaica, where they had to fight for respect and acceptance for their Rastafarian religion.

 

From Songfacts

The music is based on the song “Slippin’ Into Darkness” by the band War. Marley was friends with members of the band, and encouraged them to come to Jamaica.

The Burnin’ album, where this song first appeared, was released by Marley’s group The Wailers. In 1974, The Wailers broke up but Marley continued to tour and record as “Bob Marley & The Wailers,” even though he was the only original Wailer in the group.

Mick Jagger says that this is his favorite reggae song. The Rolling Stones frontman met Marley at the studio when Marley was working on his 1973 Catch a Fire album. The Stones would later dip their toes in the genre, covering the reggae song “Cherry Oh Baby” on their 1976 album Black And Blue

This was the last song Marley performed; he sang it from a stool at a show in Pittsburgh on September 23, 1980. Marley’s cancer had spread to his brain and it was surprising he could perform at all, but he did a 20-song set that night, closing with a 6-minute rendition of “Get Up, Stand Up,” and collapsing soon after the show. He would die on May 11, 1981.

Get Up, Stand Up

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! 
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! 
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights! 
Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

Preacher man, don’t tell me
Heaven is under the earth
I know you don’t know
What life is really worth
It’s not all that glitters is gold
‘Alf the story has never been told
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. Come on!

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

Most people think,
Great God will come from the skies
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high
But if you know what life is worth
You will look for yours on earth
And now you see the light
You stand up for your rights. Jah!

Get up, stand up! (Jah, Jah!)
Stand up for your rights! (Oh-hoo!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Life is your right!)
Get up, stand up! (So we can’t give up the fight!)
Stand up for your rights! (Lord, Lord!)
Get up, stand up! (Keep on struggling on!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Yeah!)

We sick an’ tired of-a your ism-skism game
Dyin’ ‘n’ goin’ to heaven in-a Jesus’ name, Lord
We know when we understand
Almighty God is a living man
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time
So now we see the light (What you gonna do?)
We gonna stand up for our rights! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

So you better
Get up, stand up! (In the morning! Git it up!)
Stand up for your rights! (Stand up for our rights!)
Get up, stand up!
Don’t give up the fight! (Don’t give it up, don’t give it up!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Stand up for your rights! (Get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up! 
Don’t give up the fight! (Get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up!
Stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up!
Don’t give up the fight!