Song of the Day 10/14

Posted: October 14, 2011 in J.C. Personal
Tags: ,

Today’s song is a bit of a protest song in light of the “occupy” movement. While I don’t completely understand the message of the “occupy” movement, (I don’t think there is a clear message yet) the message of today’s song is very clear. Today’s song is from the Jamaican born reggae Legend himself, Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley and the title is “Get up Stand Up”.

Written by Marley and Peter Tosh, “Get Up Stand Up” was released in 1973. Marley’s music focused on social issues of Jamaica. Often it was through Marley’s music that people first heard of issues and injustices in his homeland. “Get Up Stand Up” is originally from the album Burnin’, but it is Marley’s posthumously released compilation, Legend, containing this song as well as many other Marley classics that is the best-selling reggae album of all time, certified diamond in the U.S. and selling over 25 million copies worldwide.

Marley’s music has, at times, been misunderstood to have an anti-white stance, however Marley himself was half white, and his father of English decent. Marley did identify as black African and sang several songs about the struggles of the African people against the West. Marley’s music, instead, has an anti-injustice stance and “Get Up Stand Up” is no different. The song speaks to not letting anyone take away your rights and standing up for what you believe in. Marley believed in Rastafari, whose beliefs include the spiritual use of cannabis and the rejection of western society, which they call Babylon. Don’t call it Rastafarianism, though, as the lyrics to “Get Up Stand Up” say “We sick an’ tired of-a your ism-skism game –“ meaning that the Rastafari believe that “isms” are responsible for great evil in the world. Of course, the religion is much more complex than a short write-up about a song can possibly convey.

Marley is thought of as a philosopher, musician and prophet and his early death and the conspiracy theories surrounding it have helped cement those descriptions and elevate Marley to his current iconic status. Unfortunately, the representations we have been left with after the commercialization of Marley as a product are very different from the rebel from the streets of Jamaica that condoned fighting when it was necessary and only wanted freedom from oppression and slavery for all. Today’s Marley is a symbol for cannabis use and is most often seen as little more than a smiling, mesmerizing musician.

Marley encouraged us to both stand up for our rights and to not give up the fight, but he also condoned living life to the fullest, challenging us with “I know you don’t know what life is really worth”. At least for today, let us make the most of what we have as we remember the most famous reggae musician that ever lived.

See ya on the “b” side.

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