No Woman, No Cry


Does it feel like this song has become cliche? So many of Bob Marley’s greatest hits have that feel. It’s a sign of popularity, sure, but it grows wearying. So it takes a great performance from the man himself to make us remember the power of the songs, what made them meaningful in the first place. Marley was an intensely emotional performer, and it’s eye-opening to watch. The song has a lot of depth, which due to over-familiarity, we tend not to notice. It is, besides being a love song on the surface, an ode to Marley’s hardscrabble Trenchtown roots, which he had by then escaped but not forgotten. In fact, Marley chose to give the songwriting credit for the song to a Trenchtown  friend named Vincent Ford, who used the royalties to fund a soup kitchen. Marley did this with all the songs on the Natty Dread album, partly as a way of squirreling out of a contract, but also in large part to support friends and family, and to funnel some of his earnings back into the community.

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