Throwback Single: Bob Marley 'Get Up, Stand Up'
The triumph and accomplishments of Jamaica’s lightning athlete Usain Bolt and his teammates have warranted a Throwback dedicated to the athletes’ determination, resilience and spirit. I think it is most befitting to look no further than Jamaica’s greatest- Bob Marley.
Bob Marley was the Third World’s first music megastar and one who later went on to become a First World icon, venerated to this very day. The legend brought Reggae and Rastafari to a global audience, enlightening listeners through his exquisite compositions. The gifted songwriter and guitarist wrote about freedom, determination, faith and love with equal insightfulness and finesse. Marley addressed social issues of the day in a palatable way through Reggae, where his passionate socio-political message could be comfortably heard by all.
‘Burnin’ was Marley’s band The Wailers’ edgy 1973 follow up to ‘Catch a Fire’. Unlike its predecessors, the album adopted a stronger commentary with signature tracks such as ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, ‘No Woman, No Cry’ and the anthem ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.
‘Get Up, Stand Up’ was written by Marley and Peter Tosh. The motivational exposition about empowerment implores listeners to fight oppression, overcome adversity and stand up for what one believes in. Marley speaks in the context of his Rastafarian religion and the battle to demand respect for it but its universal message is undeniable. Marley alludes to the power from within and its ability to manifest and externalise into an instrument for positive change when one is released from the shackles of erroneous dogma and possesses freedom of thought. The inspirational track can be viewed as a call to action, to live in the present and uphold ones values. Its message continues to resonate with generations across the globe decades later, as millions continue to gravitate towards Marley's works. His music knows no boundaries, transcending geographical and cultural divides with a message of hope and unity.
The video featured, is a live recording of the seminal track at Marley’s legendary concert at the Rainbow Theatre in June 1977. The concert was part of the Exodus tour, which took the message of Reggae and Rastafari to countries that knew little about both. In this rare BBC footage from the North London venue, Marley is seen charismatically performing his song of determination; entrancing the audience with his lyrical might and enigmatic stage presence.
“A qualified man with vision, unmoved by daily selfish interests, will be led to right decisions by his conscience. In general, a man who knows from whence he comes and where he is going will co-operate with his fellow human beings. He will not be satisfied with merely doing his ordinary duties but will inspire others by his good example,” noted Haile Selassie I. Bob Marley is a case in point. Jamaica’s son of the soil was a voice for the voiceless, an indomitable spirit, Reggae’s pioneer; and truly a gift to humanity.
Reema Kumari Jadeja ©