|Song by Harry Belafonte|
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"Jamaica Farewell" is a Jamaican-style folk song (mento) about the beauties of the West Indian Islands. The song first appeared on Harry Belafonte's phenomenally successful album Calypso. It reached number fourteen on the Billboard Pop chart.
Though many, including Belafonte himself, have said that the song was popular in the West Indies since long before Burgess, it is believed that Burgess compiled and modified the song from many folk pieces to make a new song. Burgess acknowledged his use of the tune of another mento, "Iron Bar".
The line "ackee, rice, saltfish is nice" refers to the Jamaican national dish "ackee and saltfish".
Artists who have covered "Jamaica Farewell" include:
- Brian Wilson
- Chuck Berry (feat. The Five Dimensions)
- Sir Lancelot
- Don Williams
- Jimmy Buffett
- Sam Cooke
- Nina & Frederik
- Pat Rolle
- Carly Simon
- Laura Veirs, on her 2011 album Tumble Bee
- Caetano Veloso and Sting, while playing a melody of his own "Can't Stand Losing You / Reggatta de Blanc" while still with The Police in 1983
- Ray Conniff Orchestra, on the album Happiness Is (1966)
- James Last Orchestra, on the album Music From Across The Way (1971)
- The Jukebox Band, on the TV show Shining Time Station, episode "Bully for Mr. Conductor"
- Desmond Dekker, on the Putamayo album Caribbean Playground.
In other languages
This song has been translated into many languages. For example, in Bengali, there exist several translations, some of which are quite well known. One Bengali version of the song became an important anthem for the Naxalite revolutionary movement in the 1970s and thus has significance for Bengali intellectuals in Kolkata society. Bangladeshi band Souls also sang their own translated version in early 1990s, which instantly became hit in Bangladesh.
The song was covered with lyrics in Swedish by Schytts as Jamaica farväl, scoring a 1979 Svensktoppen hit. Streaplers recorded a 1967 Swedish-language version of the song, with the lyrics "Långt långt bort". Their version became a 1968 Svensktoppen hit.
This song was featured in the 2009 video game Rabbids Go Home at numerous parts of the game.