No Woman, No Cry

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"No Woman, No Cry"
NoWomanNoCry.jpg
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Live!
LanguageEnglish, Jamaican Patois
B-side"Kinky Reggae"
Released1975
Recorded1975
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"
(1975)
"Jah Live"
(1976)

"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. This studio version used a drum machine. The live version from the 1975 album Live! was released as a single and is the best known version; it was included on the greatest hits compilation Legend, and was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on July 17, 1975 as part of his Natty Dread Tour.

The live version of the song ranked No. 37 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Composition[edit]

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]

1974 studio recording[edit]

The song was originally recorded as a studio recording for the 1974 album Natty Dread.[8] Jean Roussel provided the arrangement and Hammond organ parts for this recording, and this uptempo version used a drum machine for the percussion.[8] But the best known recording would be the live recording, which was recorded and released as a single in 1975.[8]

1975 live recording[edit]

Released as a single, and on the album Live!, and on later album compilations,

Charts[edit]

Peak positions (1975)
Chart Peak position
UK Singles Chart 22
Dutch Top 40 23
New Zealand Singles Chart 30
Peak position (1981)
Chart Peak position
UK Singles Chart 8

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[9] Gold 30,000*
Italy (FIMI)[10] Gold 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[11] Gold 400,000double-dagger

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

Fugees version[edit]

"No Woman, No Cry"
Fugees-No-Woman-No-Cry-96290.jpg
Single by Fugees
from the album The Score
Released15 November 1996
Recorded1995
GenreReggae
LabelRuffhouse Records
Producer(s)Salaam Remi
Fugees singles chronology
"Ready or Not"
(1996)
"No Woman, No Cry"
(1996)
"Rumble in the Jungle"
(1997)
Audio sample
Music video
"No Woman, No Cry" on YouTube

"No Woman, No Cry" was covered by American hip hop group the Fugees in 1995. It was released in November 1996 as the fourth single from their second studio album, The Score. The song was produced by Salaam Remi. The Fugees' version of the track features Wyclef 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. Wyclef Jean recorded a solo version of the track for his Greatest Hits compilation in 2003.

The Fugees' cover was successful worldwide, peaking atop the New Zealand Singles Chart for two weeks and becoming a top-ten hit in Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the United Kingdom. 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 listing[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]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[36] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Silver 200,000^

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rolling Stone (2011-04-07). "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  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 2020-06-10.
  4. ^ "Entertainment | No Woman No Cry 'songwriter' dies". BBC News. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  5. ^ "In pictures: The legacy of Bob Marley". BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  6. ^ Humphries, Patrick (2003). "No Woman No Cry". BBC Radio 2. BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  7. ^ "Bob Marley, 'No Woman, No Cry' | 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  8. ^ a b c Eames, Tom (2020-09-15). "The Story of... 'No Woman No Cry' by Bob Marley". Smooth. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  9. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Bob Marley – No Woman, No Cry" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  10. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved August 29, 2014. Select "2014" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "No Woman No Cry" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  11. ^ "British single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 22, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type No Woman No Cry in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  12. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  13. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 14 no. 1–3. 18 January 1997. p. 23. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 49. 7 December 1996. p. 12. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Fugees: No Woman, No Cry" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  19. ^ "Lescharts.com – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in French). Les classement single.
  20. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  21. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – No Woman No Cry". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  22. ^ "Hits of the World – Italy" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 109 no. 3. January 18, 1997. p. 46. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 49, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ "Charts.nz – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "Notowanie nr 785" (in Polish). 14 February 1997. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  27. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Singles Top 100.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Fugees – No Woman, No Cry". Swiss Singles Chart.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  32. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Radio Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  33. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1997. p. 25. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1996". Music Week. 18 January 1997. p. 25.
  35. ^ "Najlepsze single na UK Top 40–1996 wg sprzedaży" (in Polish). Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  36. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – The Fugees – No Woman No Cry". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  37. ^ "British single certifications – Fugees – No Woman No Cry". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 November 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type No Woman No Cry in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links[edit]