Three Little Birds

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"Three Little Birds"
Bob Marley Three Little Birds.jpg
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Exodus
B-side"Every Need Got an Ego to Feed"
ReleasedSeptember 12, 1980 (single)
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"

"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.[1] 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 All Right", 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. They are partly inspired by birds that Marley was fond of that used to fly and sit next to his home.[2] 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(sic), who would come by the windowsill at Hope Road."[2] However, three female singers from the reggae group I Threes who did shows with Marley claim it is a reference to them.[2] 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?'"[2]

The song is written in the key of A major.[3]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[4] Gold 45,000double-dagger

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

Usage in media[edit]

The song is featured in a Sesame Street segment where a boy in Jamaica goes to school and attends drum class.[citation needed]



Other uses[edit]

Former baseball player Shane Victorino, a fan of Bob Marley, used the song's chorus as his at-bat music during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox. Fans in the stands would typically sing along whenever Victorino came up to bat.[6] The song became associated with the 2013 Red Sox team, who won the World Series that year.[7] Victorino ceased using the song after being traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2015, out of respect for the Red Sox and their fans.[8][9]

At the Johan Cruijff Arena, the song is played during Ajax games near the end of half-time. It has become arguably the team's anthem.

The song was used in the "Full of Life" ad for Danone Actimel Ireland.

The 2007 film I Am Legend starring Will Smith, features his character, Robert Neville, listening to the song many times throughout the film. The character also named his daughter Marley, and discusses with other characters about his love for Bob Marley.

In 2012, Marley's oldest child, Cedella Marley, adapted lyrics from the song in a picture book titled Every Little Thing, featuring illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

In 2013, Marley's son, Stephen Marley, with Jason Bentley, remixed the song for an ad campaign by the automobile manufacturer Hyundai in the United States for their Bluelink in-vehicle telematics system.

In 2015, Plymouth Argyle fans sang the song's chorus in a playoff match against Wycombe Wanderers. Plymouth Argyle were losing 3-0 with 10 minutes to go, but after the fans began singing, Zak Ansah and Jason Banton both scored goals and kept the Pilgrims playoff hopes alive.[citation needed]

In 2016, the travelling fans of Liverpool F.C. adopted it as they followed their team across Europe. Since then it can now also be heard regularly at their home games.

The Milwaukee Brewers baseball team plays the song as fans leave Miller Park after home losses.

In 2020, Marley's grandson Skip Marley is joined by students of the School of Rock to cover the song during the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

Monty Alexander version[edit]

"Three Little Birds"
Single by Monty Alexander
from the album Stir it up - The Music of Bob Marley
ReleasedSeptember 25, 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"
Three Little Birds (Connie Talbot song) cover.jpg
Single by Connie Talbot
from the album Over the Rainbow
B-side"You Raise Me Up"
ReleasedJune 10, 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.[11] 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".[12] 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.[13] The album was recorded in a bedroom studio, nicknamed "the hut".[14]

Release and reception[edit]

"Three Little Birds" was released as Talbot's first single on 10 June 2008 in the UK,[15] and released alongside the album in the U.S. on 14 October.[16] Rashvin Bedi, writing for Malaysian newspaper The Star, said that "Three Little Birds" was her favourite song on Over the Rainbow.[17] The single peaked at number 3 on the Independent Singles Charts in the United Kingdom,[18] and entered the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart at number 2, dropping to 3 the next week.[19] It then rose back to number 2, and, on the sixth week, reached number 1.[20] 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.[21][22] As of November 2008, the single has sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide.[23]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the single was released on June 19, 2008.[24] It was shot in Jamaica in late March/early April 2008.[25]

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

Maroon 5 version[edit]

"Three Little Birds"
"Three Little Birds" written in all uppercase above "a Bob Marley song as performed by Maroon 5" written in all lowercase above three white rectangles shown against a purple and orange background.
Single by Maroon 5
ReleasedJune 9, 2018 (2018-06-09)
Songwriter(s)Bob Marley
Producer(s)Noah Passovoy
Maroon 5 singles chronology
"Girls Like You"
"Three Little Birds"
Music video
Three Little Birds on YouTube

American band Maroon 5 collaborated with Hyundai, to record a cover version of "Three Little Birds", that was released as a single on June 9, 2018.[26] It is featured in advertisements for three Hyundai vehicles, namely of the Santa Fe, Kona during 2018 FIFA World Cup and Nexo in the band's official music video.[27]

Music video[edit]

A music video was released on June 9, 2018 and was directed by Joseph Kahn.[28]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various June 9, 2018 Digital download [26]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Goldman (2006), p. 241
  3. ^ Bob Marley "Three Little Birds" Sheet Music
  4. ^ "Danish single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Three Little Birds". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  5. ^ "Gilberto Gil". Gilberto Gil. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  6. ^ "Bob Marley, Shane Victorino and the Series". 2013-10-24. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  7. ^ Gonzalez, Alden (2013-10-31). "Victorino's 'big moment' leads Red Sox back to top". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  8. ^ Cox, Zack (July 28, 2015). "Shane Victorino Retiring 'Three Little Birds' Out Of 'Respect For Red Sox Nation'". New England Sports Network. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  9. ^ Augustine, Bernie (July 28, 2015). "Shane Victorino breaks down in tears talking about emotional walk-up song following trade from Red Sox". New York Daily. Retrieved May 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Peacock, Tim (July 27, 2020). "Watch Skip Marley And The School Of Rock All-Stars Perform Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds'". UDiscoverMusic. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "Connie's dream of a hit single". Express & Star. 2008-01-13. Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
  12. ^ "Britain's Got Talent Connie Talbot sings Three Little Birds". Daily Mirror. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-12.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Mason, Kerri (2008-10-10). "Record buyers head-"Over"-heels for 7-year-old". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-10-30.
  14. ^ Lopez, Korina (2008-11-02). "'Talent' star Connie Talbot is 7 going on globally successful". U.S.A. Today. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  15. ^ "Buy Connies single today!". Rhythm Riders. 2008-06-10. Archived from the original on 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
  16. ^ "Connie Talbot Soars 'Over The Rainbow' and Up the Billboard Charts (press release)". AAO Music/Reality Records. 2008-10-27. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  17. ^ Bedi, Rashvin. "Over the Rainbow". The Star. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  18. ^ "Connies single at No. 3!". Rhythm Riders. 2008-06-20. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  19. ^ "Three Little Birds- Hot 100". Billboard. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 16 November 2008.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Hot Singles Sales". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
  21. ^ de Wilde, Gervase (2008-11-28). "Connie Talbot goes to Number One on the Billboard Charts". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  22. ^ "Connie tops the US charts". Sutton Coldfield Observer. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 3 December 2008.[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Harrison, Ruth (2008-11-27). "Album Review: Connie Talbot's Christmas Album". FemaleFirst. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
  24. ^ "Connie Talbot – Three Little Birds". YouTube.
  25. ^ Van Guens, Sharon (2008-04-06). "Britains Got Talent star Connie's got teeth". The Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 10 April 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008.
  26. ^ a b "Three Little Birds - Single on Apple Music", Apple Music, June 9, 2018, retrieved June 10, 2018
  27. ^ "Hyundai Teams Up Maroon 5 With Its Brand Campaign Anthem for the Upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia". Hyundai. June 11, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  28. ^ Cummings-Grady, Mackenzie (June 11, 2018). "Maroon 5 Release Jubilant Cover of Bob Marley's 'Three Little Birds' for FIFA World Cup: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved June 11, 2018.

External links[edit]