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Three Little Birds

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"Three Little Birds"
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Exodus
B-side"Every Need Got an Ego to Feed"
Released29 August 1980[1]
GenreRoots reggae
LabelTuff Gong
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley
Producer(s)Bob Marley and the Wailers
Bob Marley and the Wailers singles chronology
"Could You Be Loved"
"Three Little Birds"
"Redemption Song"
Music video
"Three Little Birds" on YouTube

"Three Little Birds" is a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It is the fourth track on side two of their 1977 album Exodus and was released as a single in 1980. The song reached the Top 20 in the UK, peaking at number 17.[2] It is one of Marley's most popular songs and has been covered by numerous other artists. The song is often thought to be named "Don't Worry About a Thing" or "Every Little Thing is Gonna Be Alright", because of the prominent and repeated use of these phrases in the chorus.

Writing and inspiration[edit]

The source of Marley's inspiration for the lyrics of "Three Little Birds" remains disputed. Some believe Marley was using birds as a metaphor for the way Jamaicans had to grow cannabis. Some believe the lyrics are partly inspired by birds that Marley was fond of that used to fly and sit next to his home.[3] Tony Gilbert, a long time friend of Marley, was present at the time he was writing the song and elaborated, "Bob got inspired by a lot of things around him, he observed life. I remember the three little birds. They were pretty birds, canaries, who would come by the windowsill at Hope Road."[3] However, three female singers from the reggae group I Threes who did shows with Marley claim it is a reference to them.[3] I Threes member Marcia Griffiths remarked, "After the song was written, Bob would always refer to us as the Three Little Birds. After a show, there would be an encore, sometimes people even wanted us to go back onstage four times. Bob would still want to go back and he would say, 'What is my Three Little Birds saying?'"[3]

The song is written in the key of A major.[4]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[5] 49
Spain (AFYVE)[6] 3
UK Singles (OCC)[7] 17


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[8] Gold 45,000
Germany (BVMI)[9] Gold 250,000
Italy (FIMI)[10]
sales since 2009
Platinum 70,000
New Zealand (RMNZ)[11] 5× Platinum 150,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[12] Platinum 60,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[13]
sales since 2004
2× Platinum 1,200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Monty Alexander version[edit]

"Three Little Birds"
Single by Monty Alexander
from the album Stir it up - The Music of Bob Marley
Released25 September 1999
GenreJazz, Reggae
LabelTelarc International Corporation
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley

Monty Alexander recorded a cover of "Three Little Birds" in January 1992 and, in 1999, he released it as a hit single. The cover was also produced by him and, unlike the original, the Monty Alexander version is very Jazz-heavy.

Track listings[edit]

Side one
1."Three Little Birds"Bob Marley3:00
Side two
2."Could You Be Loved"Bob Marley2:50

Connie Talbot version[edit]

"Three Little Birds"
Single by Connie Talbot
from the album Over the Rainbow
B-side"You Raise Me Up"
Released10 June 2008 (2008-06-10)
LabelRainbow Recording Company
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley
Producer(s)Simon Hill and Rob May
Music video
Three Little Birds on YouTube

"Three Little Birds" was released as the first single by British child singer Connie Talbot on 10 June 2008. It was taken from the 2008 re-release of her 2007 album, Over the Rainbow. Talbot released a music video to publicise the single, which was filmed in Jamaica. The release reached number 3 on the UK Independent Singles Chart, and number 1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart in the United States.


After rising to fame on the first series of Britain's Got Talent, Talbot signed with Rainbow Recording Company and began production of her debut album, Over the Rainbow. The album initially featured several Christmas themed songs, and the first single, "Over the Rainbow"/"White Christmas", was planned be released on 3 December 2007.[citation needed] The single was then cancelled in favour of an album-first release.[14] The album was rereleased with more general tracks to replace the Christmas songs, and one of the new tracks was a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds".[15] The songs on the album were chosen with collaboration between Talbot and her management; first Talbot and her family wrote "a list of the songs that Connie would sing at her birthday party", and the management then thought "long and hard" about including the more adult songs, including "I Will Always Love You", but Talbot herself insisted.[16] The album was recorded in a bedroom studio, nicknamed "the hut".[17]

Release and reception[edit]

"Three Little Birds" was released as Talbot's first single on 10 June 2008 in the UK,[18] and released alongside the album in the U.S. on 14 October.[19] Rashvin Bedi, writing for Malaysian newspaper The Star, said that "Three Little Birds" was her favourite song on Over the Rainbow.[20] The single peaked at number 3 on the Independent Singles Charts in the United Kingdom,[21] and entered the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart at number 2, dropping to 3 the next week.[22] It then rose back to number 2, and, on the sixth week, reached number 1.[23] Talbot received attention from the British press because of the single's success, with the Daily Telegraph attributing her success in America to her appeal to the Christian market.[24][25] As of November 2008, the single has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide.[26]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the single was released on 19 June 2008.[27] It was shot in Jamaica in late March/early April 2008.[28]

The video begins with images of Talbot skipping through a garden, which is then replaced with an image of her singing on a beach. She then joins a child whose parents had been arguing and plays with them and others in a field, then dances with them on the beach. The children are then led to a stage, where Talbot performs as the others sing and play musical instruments. The video closes with Talbot in the garden, skipping away from the camera.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart Country Peak Date
Independent Singles Charts United Kingdom 3 20 June 2008
Hot Singles Sales United States 1 27 November 2008

Track listing[edit]

1."Three Little Birds"Bob MarleyBob Marley3:08
2."You Raise Me Up"Brendan GrahamRolf Løvland4:04



  1. ^ "Bob Marley & the Wailers – Three Little Birds". New Zealand-charts.com. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  2. ^ "Three little birds | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  3. ^ a b c d Goldman (2006), p. 241
  4. ^ Bob Marley "Three Little Birds" Sheet Music
  5. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Could You Be Loved" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  6. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  7. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  8. ^ "Danish single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Three Little Birds". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Bob Marley & The Wailers; 'Three Little Birds')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Three Little Birds" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  11. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Dreams". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  12. ^ "Spanish single certifications – Bob Marley – Three Little Birds". El portal de Música. Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 4 March 2024.
  13. ^ "British single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Three Little Birds". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Connie's dream of a hit single". Express & Star. 13 January 2008. Archived from the original on 15 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
  15. ^ "Britain's Got Talent Connie Talbot sings Three Little Birds". Daily Mirror. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2008.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Mason, Kerri (10 October 2008). "Record buyers head-"Over"-heels for 7-year-old". Reuters. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
  17. ^ Lopez, Korina (2 November 2008). "'Talent' star Connie Talbot is 7 going on globally successful". U.S.A. Today. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  18. ^ "Buy Connies single today!". Rhythm Riders. 10 June 2008. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2008.
  19. ^ "Connie Talbot Soars 'Over The Rainbow' and Up the Billboard Charts (press release)". AAO Music/Reality Records. 27 October 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  20. ^ Bedi, Rashvin. "Over the Rainbow". The Star. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  21. ^ "Connies single at No. 3!". Rhythm Riders. 20 June 2008. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  22. ^ "Three Little Birds- Hot 100". Billboard. 22 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Hot Singles Sales". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2008.
  24. ^ de Wilde, Gervase (28 November 2008). "Connie Talbot goes to Number One on the Billboard Charts". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  25. ^ "Connie tops the US charts". Sutton Coldfield Observer. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2008.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ Harrison, Ruth (27 November 2008). "Album Review: Connie Talbot's Christmas Album". FemaleFirst. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  27. ^ "Connie Talbot – Three Little Birds". YouTube.
  28. ^ Van Guens, Sharon (6 April 2008). "Britains Got Talent star Connie's got teeth". The Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.