Redemption Song (4:06)

Cover of Legend

From Legend and 40 other releases

“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 seminal works, with some key lyrics derived from a speech given by the Pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey.

At the time he wrote the song, circa 1979, Bob Marley had been diagnosed with the cancer that later was to take 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 Marley singing and playing an acoustic guitar, without accompaniment. In subsequent live performances, however, a full band was used. A full band rendition of “Redemption Song” was made available as a bonus track on the 2001 reissue of Uprising, as well as featuring on the 2001 compilation One Love: The Very Best of Bob Marley & the Wailers. However, the solo 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.


Bob Marley – vocals, acoustic guitar, production

With Bob accompanying himself on Guitar, “Redemption Song” was unlike anything he had ever recorded: an acoustic ballad, without any hint of reggae rhythm. In message and sound it recalled Bob Dylan.


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