Inspirational Songs: Redemption Song by Bob Marley

At the time he wrote the song, 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”.

Rolling Stone placed the song at #66 among The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song urges listeners to “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” because “None but ourselves can free our minds.” These lines were taken from a speech given by Marcus Garvey in Nova Scotia

LYRICS

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 had, redemption songs, redemption songs

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds

Have no fear of atomic energy
‘Cause none of them can stop 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

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