The Harder They Come (soundtrack)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Harder They Come
Soundtrack album by Jimmy Cliff
Released July 7, 1972
Recorded 1967–1972
Genre Rocksteady, ska, reggae
Length 39:55
Label Island
Producer Various
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (A)[2]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 5/5 stars[3]

The Harder They Come is the soundtrack album to the iconic film of the same name, released in 1972 in the United Kingdom as Island Records ILPS 9202. It was issued in February 1973 in North America as Mango Records SMAS-7400.[4] It peaked at #140 on the Billboard 200.


The heart of the soundtrack comes from performances by the film's star, reggae singer Jimmy Cliff. Only the title track "The Harder They Come" was recorded by Cliff specifically for the soundtrack, with three earlier songs by Cliff added.[5] The remainder of the album is a compilation of singles released in Jamaica from the period of 1967 through 1972, assembled by the The Harder They Come director and co-writer, Perry Henzell, from songs by favored reggae singers.[6] In addition to Cliff, these artists include The Melodians, The Slickers, DJ Scotty, and seminal early reggae stars Desmond Dekker and Toots and the Maytals.

The soundtrack album played a major part in popularizing reggae in the United States and the world beyond, the film itself preventing the genre from remaining an isolated phenomenon in Jamaica.[7] In 2003, the album was ranked number 119 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album also appears on greatest albums lists from Time and Blender, and was named the 97th best album of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media.[citation needed]

On August 5, 2003, Universal Music Group issued a Deluxe Edition of the album, with the original remastered and reissued on one disc. A bonus disc continued the idea of the original soundtrack itself, compiling additional singles from the early days of reggae, entitled Reggae Hit the Town: Crucial Reggae 1968-1972.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Performer(s) Length
1. "You Can Get It If You Really Want" Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 2:40
2. "Draw Your Brakes" Derrick Harriott, Texas Dixon, Keith Rowe Scotty 2:57
3. "Rivers of Babylon" Brent Dowe, James McNaughton The Melodians 4:16
4. "Many Rivers to Cross" Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 3:02
5. "Sweet and Dandy" Frederick Hibbert The Maytals 3:01
6. "The Harder They Come" Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 3:41
7. "Johnny Too Bad" Trevor Wilson, Winston Bailey, Hylton Beckford, Derrick Crooks The Slickers 3:04
8. "007 (Shanty Town)" Desmond Dekker Desmond Dekker 2:43
9. "Pressure Drop" Frederick Hibbert The Maytals 3:44
10. "Sitting in Limbo" Jimmy Cliff, Guillermo Bright-Plummer Jimmy Cliff 4:57
11. "You Can Get It If You Really Want" Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 2:43
12. "The Harder They Come" Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff 3:07


Reissue personnel[edit]

  • Dana Smart - supervisor
  • Pat Lawrence - executive producer
  • Vartan - reissue art director
  • John Bryant - cover illustrator
  • Gavin Larsen - digital mastering


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 569.
  4. ^ The Harder They Come. UMG 440 089 495-2, 2003, liner notes, p. 26.
  5. ^ Katz, David. UMG liner notes, p. 12.
  6. ^ Henzell, Perry. UMG liner notes, p. 3.
  7. ^ Miller, Jim, ed. The Rolling Stone Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York: Random House, 1980, p. 447.