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|Song by Harry Belafonte|
"Jamaica Farewell" is a Jamaican-style folk song (mento). The lyrics for the song were written by Lord Burgess (Irving Burgie), an American-born, half-Barbadian songwriter. It is about the beauties of the West Indian Islands.
Harry Belafonte recording
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.
Artists who have covered "Jamaica Farewell" include:
- 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 medley 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.
- Lil Ugly Mane, in a section of "Side Two-A" on the album Third Side of Tape
- Robin Cook aka Jonas Ekfeldt
- Fisherman's Friends, on the album Sole Mates
- Pat Surface, on the album Songwriter 6- Welcome Back (2016)
- The Kingston Trio, who led the folk revival of the late 1950s, took their name from the mention of Kingston, Jamaica in the song, though they only recorded it many years later, in 2006.
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. The Bangladeshi band Souls also sang their own translated version in early 1990s, which instantly became a 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.
- In his album My Son, the Folk Singer, Allan Sherman included a parody of the song: "I'm upside down, my head is spinning around, because I gotta sell the house in Levittown!"
- A filk music parody "Change at Jamaica Farewell" makes fun of the Long Island Rail Road.
- Larry Birnbaum (2013). Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 2024. ISBN 978-0-8108-8638-4.
- Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 70. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Svensktoppen 1979". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Svensktoppen 1968". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)