I Shot the Sheriff

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"I Shot the Sheriff"
I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley and the Wailers German vinyl.jpg
Artwork of original German vinyl release
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Burnin'
Released12 February 1973[1]
StudioHarry J. Studios, Kingston, Jamaica
GenreReggae
Length4:41
Label
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley
Producer(s)

"I Shot the Sheriff" is a song written by Bob Marley and released in 1973 by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Bob Marley and the Wailers version[edit]

The narrator claims to have acted in self-defence when the sheriff tried to shoot him. The song was first released in 1973 on The Wailers' album Burnin'. Marley explained his intention as follows: "I want to say 'I shot the police' but the government would have made a fuss so I said 'I shot the sheriff' instead… but it's the same idea: justice."[2]

In 1992, with the controversy surrounding the Ice-T song "Cop Killer", Marley's song was often cited by Ice-T's supporters as evidence of his detractors' hypocrisy, considering that the older song was never similarly criticised despite having much the same theme.[3]

In 2012, Marley's former girlfriend Esther Anderson claimed that the lyrics, "Sheriff John Brown always hated me / For what, I don't know / Every time I plant a seed / He said, 'Kill it before it grow'" are actually about Marley's being very opposed to her use of birth control pills; Marley supposedly substituted the word "doctor" with sheriff.[4]

Eric Clapton version[edit]

"I Shot the Sheriff"
I Shot the Sheriff by Eric Clapton UK vinyl 1974.jpg
A-side label of the original 1974 UK vinyl release
Single by Eric Clapton
from the album 461 Ocean Boulevard
B-side"Give Me Strength"
Released1974
Genre
Length
  • 4:26 (album version)
  • 3:30 (single version)
LabelRSO
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley
Producer(s)Tom Dowd

Eric Clapton recorded a cover version that was included on his 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard. His performance of the song adds a soft rock[5] to the reggae sound.[6] Billboard described this version as being "a catchy goof of a winner" despite not containing a guitar solo.[7] Faring better in the charts, it peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, Clapton's version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Warren G version[edit]

"I Shot the Sheriff"
I Shot the Sheriff WG.jpg
Single by Warren G
from the album Take a Look Over Your Shoulder
ReleasedFebruary 3, 1997[31]
GenreHip hop
Length4:10
LabelDef Jam
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Warren G
Warren G singles chronology
"What's Love Got to Do with It"
(1996)
"I Shot the Sheriff"
(1997)
"Smokin' Me Out"
(1997)

"I Shot the Sheriff" is the lead single released from Warren G's second album, Take a Look Over Your Shoulder. Warren replaced Marley's original lyrics with his own, although Clapton's version of the song is sampled and R&B singer Nancy Fletcher sings the original chorus. The song was a hit in several countries. In the US, it peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Gold by the RIAA on 2 May 1997. It peaked at number two in the UK and at number one in New Zealand.[32][33]

The official remix was produced by EPMD member Erick Sermon, it is based around EPMD's "Strictly Business", which also sampled Clapton's version of the song.[citation needed]

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bob Marley & the Wailers – I Shot the Sheriff". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  2. ^ "I Shot the Sheriff". Island Trading Inc. Archived from the original on 29 January 1998.
  3. ^ Hamm, Mark; Ferrell, Jeff. "Rap, cops, and crime: clarifying the 'cop killer' controversy". Institute for Jewish Policy Research. Archived from the original on 6 April 2004.
  4. ^ Colagrande, J.J. (19 April 2012). "Bob Marley's Ex-Girlfriend Brings Her Own Marley Documentary to Miami". Miami New Times. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  5. ^ Smith, Chris (2006). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From Arenas to the Underground, 1974–1980. Greenwood Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-313-32937-0.
  6. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Fireside. p. 165. ISBN 0-394-72107-1.
  7. ^ "Billboard's Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. 29 June 1974. p. 78. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  8. ^ "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame – i". Grammy Hall of Fame Award. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3841a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  13. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1974" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Billboard – Hits of the World". Billboard. Vol. 86 no. 45. 9 November 1974. p. 50. ISSN 0006-2510.
  17. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Eric Clapton – I Shot The Sheriff". VG-lista. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  18. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (C)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  21. ^ a b "461 Ocean Boulevard – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  22. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending SEPTEMBER 7, 1974". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012.
  23. ^ "The Singles Chart" (PDF). Record World. 7 September 1974. p. 25. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  24. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Shot the Sheriff". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1974" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  27. ^ "The Top 200 Singles of '74". RPM. Vol. 22 no. 14. 28 December 1974. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1974" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1974". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  30. ^ "American single certifications – Eric Clapton – I Shot the Sheriff". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  31. ^ Smith, Shawnee (1 February 1997). "Def Jam Shoots Straight for Int'l Market for Warren G Set" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 5. pp. 21, 28. ISSN 0006-2510.
  32. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  35. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  36. ^ "Ultratop.be – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  37. ^ "Ultratop.be – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  38. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14 no. 10. 8 March 1997. p. 20. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  39. ^ "Warren G: I Shot the Sheriff" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  40. ^ "Lescharts.com – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  41. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  42. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 14. 5 April 1997. p. 48. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  44. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". VG-lista. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  45. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  46. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  47. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  48. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  49. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  50. ^ a b c "Warren G – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  51. ^ "ARIA Charts – End of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1997". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  52. ^ "End of Year Charts 1997". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  53. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1997". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  54. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 3 September 2020.
  55. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". Recorded Music NZ.
  56. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 5. 31 January 1998. p. 76. ISSN 0006-2510.
  57. ^ "American single certifications – Warren G – I Shot the Sheriff". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]