No Woman, No Cry

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"No Woman, No Cry"
Song by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Natty Dread
LanguageEnglish, Jamaican Patois
Released25 October 1974 (1974-10-25)
Recorded1974
StudioHarry J. Studios, Kingston, Jamaica
GenreReggae
Length3:46
LabelIsland/Tuff Gong
Songwriter(s)Vincent Ford, Bob Marley (uncredited)
Producer(s)Chris Blackwell and The Wailers
Audio
"No Woman, No Cry" on YouTube

"No Woman, No Cry" is a reggae song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The song was recorded in 1974 and released on the studio album Natty Dread.[1]

Composition[edit]

Musical structure[edit]

The original studio version of the song used a drum machine. Jean Roussel provided the arrangement and Hammond organ parts for this recording, and this uptempo version used a drum machine for the percussion.

Lyrics[edit]

The title and main refrain, "No Woman, No Cry", means "Woman, don't cry".[2] The lyric is sometimes misunderstood outside Jamaica to mean "if there is no woman, there is no reason to cry".[3] The lyric is rendered "No, woman, nuh cry" in Jamaican patois. The "nuh" is pronounced with a short schwa vowel (a "mumbled" vowel, often represented as "uh" in spelling) and represents a clitic ("weakened") form of "no".

Marley mentions the Government Yards of Trench Town, a public housing project in Kingston where he grew up. The lyrics also mention cornmeal porridge, a popular breakfast in Jamaica.

Writing credit[edit]

Although Bob Marley is widely believed to have written the song (the lyrics are highly personalised and mention Georgie making cornmeal porridge, Marley's favourite dish),[4][5] or at least the melody,[6] a songwriter credit was given to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley's who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica, where Marley grew up. The royalty payments received by Ford ensured his efforts would continue.[7]

1975 live recording[edit]

"No Woman, No Cry (Live '75)"
NoWomanNoCry.jpg
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Live!
LanguageEnglish, Jamaican Patois
B-side"Kinky Reggae"
Released1975
Recorded17 July 1975
VenueLyceum Theatre, London
GenreReggae
Length7:07
LabelIsland
Songwriter(s)Vincent Ford, Bob Marley (uncredited)
Producer(s)Bob Marley and the Wailers, Steve Smith, Chris Blackwell
Bob Marley and the Wailers singles chronology
"So Jah Seh"
(1974)
"No Woman, No Cry (Live '75)"
(1975)
"Jah Live"
(1976)
Music video
"No Woman, No Cry" on YouTube

The live recording of this song from the 1975 album Live! was released as a single and is the best-known version; it was later included on several compilation albums, including the greatest hits compilation Legend. It was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on 17 July 1975 as part of his Natty Dread Tour.[8]

The live version of the song ranked No. 37 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[9]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[10] 22
Dutch Top 40[11] 23
Chart (1981) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[12] 8
New Zealand Singles Chart[13] 30

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[14] Gold 30,000*
Italy (FIMI)[15] Gold 15,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Music video[edit]

The video "No Woman, No Cry, Live At The Rainbow 4th June 1977", was used as the music video for the song.

Fugees version[edit]

"No Woman, No Cry"
Fugees-No-Woman-No-Cry-96290.jpg
Single by Fugees
from the album The Score
Released18 November 1996 (1996-11-18)[17]
GenreReggae
Length4:33
LabelRuffhouse
Songwriter(s)Vincent Ford, Bob Marley (uncredited)
Producer(s)Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill
Fugees singles chronology
"Ready or Not"
(1996)
"No Woman, No Cry"
(1996)
"Rumble in the Jungle"
(1997)
Music video
"No Woman, No Cry" on YouTube

"No Woman, No Cry" was covered by American hip hop group Fugees. It was released in November 1996 as the fourth single from their second studio album, The Score. The song was produced by Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. Fugees' version of the track features Jean on lead vocals and changes the lyric "in a government yard in Trenchtown" to "in a government yard in Brooklyn". An official remix of the track, featuring Stephen Marley, was included on the group's third release, Bootleg Versions. Jean later recorded a solo version of the track for his 2003 anthology Greatest Hits.

Fugees' version was successful worldwide, peaking atop the New Zealand Singles Chart for two weeks, reaching number-two in the United Kingdom and becoming a top 40 hit in 13 additional countries. It did not chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 due to not receiving a physical release in the US, which at the time was a requirement for songs to appear on the Hot 100. It instead charted on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, peaking at number 38.

Track listings[edit]

UK CD1

  1. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP version) - 4:03
  2. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix) - 3:55
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix instrumental) - 3:55
  4. "Killing Me Softly" (Live) - 4:25

UK CD2

  1. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" - 5:03
  2. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" (Instrumental) - 5:03
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP version) - 4:03
  4. "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Live) - 6:04

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Certifications and sales for "No Woman, No Cry"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[42] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Silver 200,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eames, Tom (15 September 2020). "The Story of... 'No Woman No Cry' by Bob Marley". Smooth. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  2. ^ Dawes, Kwame Senu Neville (2002). Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius. Sanctuary. ISBN 978-1-86074-433-4.
  3. ^ Rogers, William. "No Woman No Cry | Blogger Bill". Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Entertainment | No Woman No Cry 'songwriter' dies". BBC News. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  5. ^ "In pictures: The legacy of Bob Marley". BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  6. ^ Humphries, Patrick (2003). "No Woman No Cry". BBC Radio 2. BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Bob Marley, 'No Woman, No Cry' | 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  8. ^ Erwin Barendregt (5 December 2020). "Bob Marley And The Wailers Live!, the best live album of all time?". apoplife.nl.
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 50", Official Charts Company, retrieved 17 August 2021
  11. ^ "No Woman, No Cry (Live '75)", Official Charts Company, retrieved 20 August 2021
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 75", Official Charts Company, retrieved 17 August 2021
  13. ^ "No Woman, No Cry (Live '75)", Official Charts Company, retrieved 20 August 2021
  14. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Bob Marley – No Woman, No Cry" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 29 August 2014. Select "2014" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "No Woman No Cry" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  16. ^ "British single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  17. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 16 November 1996. p. 35. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  20. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  21. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  22. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14, no. 1–3. 18 January 1997. p. 23. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13, no. 49. 7 December 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Fugees: No Woman, No Cry" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat.
  25. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in French). Les classement single.
  26. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (20.7. – 26.7. '96)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 20 July 1996. p. 42. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  28. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – No Woman No Cry". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  29. ^ "Hits of the World – Italy" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 109, no. 3. 18 January 1997. p. 46. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  30. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 49, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  31. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  32. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Top 40 Singles.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Singles Top 100.
  35. ^ "Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Swiss Singles Chart.
  36. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ "Official Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  38. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  39. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1997. p. 25. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  40. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1996". Music Week. 18 January 1997. p. 25.
  41. ^ "Najlepsze single na UK Top 40–1996 wg sprzedaży" (in Polish). Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  42. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – The Fugees – No Woman No Cry". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Fugees – No Woman No Cry". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 June 2021.

External links[edit]