(Something Inside) So Strong

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"(Something Inside) So Strong"
Single by Labi Siffre
from the album So Strong
B-side I'm Alright
Released 1987
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Genre adult contemporary
Length 4:48
Label China
Writer(s) Labi Siffre
Producer(s) Glyn Johns
Labi Siffre singles chronology
"(Something Inside) So Strong"
"Nothin's Gonna Change"

(Something Inside) So Strong is a 1987 single written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre. The song was one of the biggest successes of Siffre's career, and peaked at number four in the United Kingdom.[1]

The song was written in 1984, inspired by a TV documentary on Apartheid South Africa seen by Siffre in which white soldiers were filmed shooting at black civilians in the street. He told the BBC's Soul Music programme in 2014 that the song was also influenced by his experience as a homosexual child, adolescent and adult. Siffre originally intended to give the song to another artist to sing, but could find no one suitable and was convinced to release it himself.[2]

The song has remained enduringly popular and is an example of the political and sociological thread running through much of Siffre’s lyrics and poetry. It won the Ivor Novello Award for "Best Song Musically and Lyrically", and has been used in Amnesty International campaigns, a television advertisement and Alice Walker's film against female genital mutilation: Warrior Marks.

Cover versions[edit]

  • The song was covered by Pop Idol constestant, Rik Waller in 2002 on his debut album From Now....
  • Odetta performed it in on her 2008 tour.
  • It was covered by Kenny Rogers in 1989 (and became the title track to a hit album), and became the centerpiece of Rogers' 1989 U.S. TV special with Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.
  • The song was also covered by Vanessa Bell Armstrong in 1988 and again by a host of gospel artists as a tribute to Rosa Parks in the mid-1990s.
  • The Flying Pickets covered the song in their 1994 album The Warning.
  • Michael Ball also released a cover of the song in 1996, which reached Number 40 in the UK.
  • Lewis Harley performed it for the FJS Celebrate album and also the concert.
  • The a cappella group The Flirtations (see Michael Callen ) covered it on their self-titled album released in 1990.
  • Marcia Griffiths recorded a reggae version of the song, released on her "Reggae Max" album in 2003. It is a very famous song which both young and older choirs sing.
  • The song was also covered by Irish rebel singers Gary Óg & Terry O'Neill.
  • The song featured in an episode of Gavin and Stacey, and was sung by Bryn (Rob Brydon)
  • The song was covered by Irish singer Tommy Fleming.
  • The song is performed by Rock Choir and their version is on their first album Rock Choir Vol.1. It raised money for the charity Refuge on Rock Choir's second album Rock Choir Deluxe, and also features on the Decca compilation album Perfect Day.
  • Eddie Vedder recorded a karaoke cover version in a 1989 pre-Pearl Jam demo tape.
  • The song was featured on the Lira (singer) Live in Concert: A Celebration (Sony/BMG Africa, 2009).

Other uses[edit]

The song featured in a 2001 advertisement for the Peugeot 307.

In John Pilger's 2007 documentary The War on Democracy So Strong was used as the background music to a section on a Venezuelan protest.[3]

The song was sung by Michael Callen and The Flirtations at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

The song was sung by Rob Brydon in the British television series Gavin and Stacy.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 498. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Mathur, Paul SPIN Aug 1989
  3. ^ Pilger, John. "The War on Democracy". Retrieved November 2, 2013.