You Can Get It If You Really Want

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"You Can Get It If You Really Want"
Single by Desmond Dekker
from the album You Can Get It If You Really Want
ReleasedJuly 1970 (1970-07)
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Cliff
Desmond Dekker singles chronology
"Pickney Gal"
"You Can Get It If You Really Want"
"The Song We Used to Sing"

"You Can Get It If You Really Want" is a famous rocksteady song written and performed by Jamaican reggae singer songwriter Jimmy Cliff and released as a single in July 1970. A version was recorded by Jamaican singer Desmond Dekker and released within a few weeks of Cliff's version. It became a hit in its own right as a single released in a number of markets, reaching number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[1]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1970–71) Peak
Australia (Go-Set)[2] 12
Australia (Kent Music Report)[3] 17
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[4] 35
Germany (Official German Charts)[5] 9
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[6] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 17
Ireland (IRMA)[8] 4
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[9] 4
UK Singles (OCC)[1] 2
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[10] 3

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1970) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 23


The UK's Jamaican origin reggae band The Cimarons released it as a single in 1974.

The song has been covered by a great number of artists including by Italian pop singer Sabrina (Sabrina Salerno) in her 1991 album Over the Pop and by Stiff Little Fingers on their 1999 album Hope Street where the song is retitled "You Can Get It (If Yu Really Want It)".

French singer Johnny Hallyday sang it in French under the title T'as le bonjour de l'amour released on his album Hollywood in 1979.

In popular culture[edit]

The Jimmy Cliff song was famously used in the 1972 film The Harder They Come.

In 1990, the song was used in the album "Sebastian from The Little Mermaid" as most of the songs were performed by Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian the crab. Wright also performed this version in Sebastian's Caribbean Jambore.

The Jimmy Cliff version was used in the soundtrack of the 1997 film Speed 2: Cruise Control; the 2005 Will Smith film Hitch[12] and the 2012 Aardman Animation film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!.

Cliff’s version was used as a musical number in the inaugural episode of the British television musical comedy drama serial Blackpool, whereas the Desmond Dekker version was also used in the soundtrack of the 2010 British film Made in Dagenham.


Jimmy Cliff included his own version of the song on his 2004 compilation album Reggae Night. The Dekker version on the other hand was included in the triple-disc compilation album released Now That's What I Call Reggae in June 2012.


  1. ^ a b "Desmond Dekker: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  2. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 9 January 1971".
  3. ^ "Every AMR Top 100 Single in 1970".
  4. ^ "Desmond Dekker – Israelites" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  5. ^ "Desmond Dekker – You Can Get It If You Really Want" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  6. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Desmond Dekker" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  7. ^ "Desmond Dekker – You Can Get It If You Really Want" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  8. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You Can Get It If You Really Want". Irish Singles Chart.
  9. ^ "SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Acts D". South Africa Rock Lists. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Desmond Dekker Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Top 100 1970 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  12. ^