(Something Inside) So Strong
|"(Something Inside) So Strong"|
|Single by Labi Siffre|
|from the album So Strong|
|Format||7" vinyl, 12" vinyl|
|Labi Siffre singles chronology|
"(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 his career, and peaked at number four in the United Kingdom.
The song was written in 1984, inspired by a television 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.
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.
Notably, it has been adopted by Irish Republicans to commemorate the resistance of the ten men who died on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison near Lisburn in 1981. The song has been covered by many artists, including country singer Kenny Rogers who featured it on his 1989 best selling album of the same name, and also by Pop Idol finalist Rik Waller who had a UK Top 40 hit with it.
The song featured in a advertisement for the Peugeot 307 in 2001.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 498. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Mathur, Paul (August 1989). "So Strong". Spin: 32. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
- "Soul Music, Series 18, Something Inside So Strong". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
Labi Siffre wrote Something Inside So Strong in 1984. Widely believed to have been inspired by seeing film footage from South Africa, of young blacks being shot at by white policeman, he now reveals that the lyrics were also informed by the oppression he had experienced as a homosexual.
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