Song of the Day #5,085: ‘Survival’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

After 1978’s Kaya eschewed political songs, Bob Marley swung in the opposite direction on his next release, 1979’s Survival. Perhaps it was a reaction to the criticism he received for not taking advantage of his platform on the previous album.

If so, that’s a shame. Can’t a man just make music without having to serve as a spiritual and political leader? Marley certainly made good use of his influence in those arenas throughout his career. The man should be able to take a break.

Survival is a battle cry for African solidarity, and against racism all over the world. Its cover image features 48 African flags, surrounding a depiction of the Brookes slave ship that stowed enslaved people in horrifically condensed quarters during the Middle Passage.

The subject matter might make it sound like a tough listen, but I found Survival enjoyable from start to finish, for both its message and its music. You could groove poolside to this album as surely as you could to Kaya, and maybe learn something at the same time.

(Ow, ow-ow-ow-ow!
Ow, ow-ow-ow-ow!)
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

[Verse 1]
How can you be sitting there
Telling me that you care
That you care
When every time I look around
The people suffer in the suffering
In every way, in everywhere

Say, na-na-na-na-na (na-na, na-na!)
We’re the survivors
Yes, the Black survivors

[Verse 2]
I tell you what, some people got everything
Some people got nothing
Some people got hopes and dreams
Some people got ways and means


Like Daniel out of the lions’ den
(Black survivors) Survivors, survivors

[Verse 3]
So I Idren, I sistren
Which way will we choose
We better hurry, oh, hurry, oh, hurry, whoa, now
Because we got no time to lose

[Verse 4]
Some people got facts and claims
Some people got pride and shame
Some people got the plots and schemes
Some people got no aim it seems

[Verse 5]
Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
(Black survivors)
Thrown in the fire, but-a never get burn

So I Idren, I-sistren
The preaching and talking is done
We’ve gotta live up, wo now, wo now!
Because the Father’s time has come

Some people put the best outside
Some people keep the best inside
Some people can’t stand up strong
Some people won’t wait for long


[Verse 6]
In this age of technological inhumanity (Black survival)
Scientific atrocity (survivors)
Atomic mis-philosophy (Black survival)
Nuclear mis-energy (survivors)
It’s a world that forces lifelong insecurity (Black survival)
All together now


A good man is never honoured (survivors)
In his own country (Black survival)
Nothing change, nothing strange (survivors)
Nothing change, nothing strange (Black survivors)
We got to survive, you all! (survivors)

One thought on “Song of the Day #5,085: ‘Survival’ – Bob Marley and the Wailers

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    And thus a new sound was born: political party music. šŸ˜€

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