Bob Marley Simon Frith - Essay

Simon Frith

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The best record Bob Marley ever made was the live single version of "No Woman, No Cry." The reasons for its success were complex, but its chorus was simple: "Everything's gonna be all right!"

"All right" is the most important lyrical concept in rock. It was the key-word of the hippie Sixties. It summed up laid-back tolerance—"that's all right, man"—and nodding self-satisfaction. "I don't care because I'm all right," were Randy Newman's words, "I'm all right because I don't care."

Marley's "all right" reflected hedonism and apathy—ganja is dope, after all—but it made other references, too. "No Woman, No Cry" was a religious song…. And "No Woman, No Cry" was a political...

(The entire section is 526 words.)