Buffalo Soldier (song)
|Single by Bob Marley & The Wailers|
|from the album Confrontation|
|Songwriter(s)||Bob Marley & King Sporty|
|Bob Marley & The Wailers singles chronology|
|Confrontation track listing|
"Buffalo Soldier" is a reggae song written by Bob Marley and Noel "King Sporty" Williams, and recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It did not appear on record until the 1983 posthumous release of Confrontation, when it became one of Marley's best-known songs. The title and lyrics refer to the black U.S. cavalry regiments, known as "Buffalo Soldiers", that fought in the Indian Wars after 1866. Marley likened their fight to a fight for survival, and recasts it as a symbol of black resistance.
The origin of the term "Buffalo Soldier" is theorized as given to black troops by Native Americans, who thought African Americans' hair felt and looked like a buffalo's pelt. The name was embraced by the troops, who were well acquainted with "the buffalo's fierce bravery and fighting spirit". The Buffalo Soldier's duties were settling railroad disputes, building telegraph lines, repairing and building forts, helping settlers find a place to live, and protecting the settlers from attacks by Native Americans.
The song's bridge, with the lyrics woe! yoe! yo!, was rumored to be inspired off the chorus from the Banana Splits' "The Tra-La-La Song", the 1968 theme from their TV show, written by Mark Barkan and Ritchie Adams. There has been no proof of this, and a story by BBC in 2010 seems to cast doubts on this origin story. There has never been any history of litigation connected to the chorus.
In pop culture
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The song is featured prominently in the 1990 film No Fear, No Die.
The Japan national rugby union team made a parody of the song called "Japanese Soldier" for their size disadvantaged team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
- Black Heretics, Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals - Bogues, Anthony, Page 198, via Google Books. Accessed 2008-06-28.
- "ASIN: B001I1TU2Y". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- National Park Service, Buffalo Soldiers (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on January 4, 2007, retrieved 2007-05-01
- Brief History (Buffalo Soldiers National Museum) (PDF), 2008, retrieved 2009-11-30
- "Did the Banana Splits inspire Bob Marley?". BBC News Magazine. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
- Adam Conner-Simons, "Picking Up What They're Laying Down," Gelf Magazine, July 24, 2007.