Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
Bob Marley was a preacher of love and unity all living beings. This message is apparent in all his hits such as “Is This Love,” “Three Little Birds,” “Redemption Song” and so on. However, his ultimate creation of love and peace is “One Love” with the band The Wailers. But there is a twist…
“One Love” was originally released by the band The Wailers in 1965. In 1977, Bob Marley & The Wailers rereleased the song as a track from their ninth studio album ‘Exodus.’ This version included parts of the 1965 Impressions song “People Get Ready,” hence, when the song was released in 1977, the song title was listed as “One Love/People Get Ready” by giving credits to Curtis Mayfield of Impressions.
“One Love” has had a significant impact on the culture throughout the years. According to Wikipedia, this song was elected the ‘best music of Jamaica over the last 50 years,’ it was named the ‘song of the millennium by The World Health Organization,’ and the song has been featured in the Jamaican Tourist Board commercials since 1994. The song also peaked at #5 in UK Singles Chart after the song was released as a single in 1984.
Listen to the track below.
Download “One Love/People Get Ready” Single on Apple Music and Amazon
On the surface of things, “One Love” may seem like the ultimate song on love and peace. However, Bob Marley has cleverly penned down his thoughts on people’s struggles in the same lyrics.
Bob Marley sings of ‘one love and one heart’ among people in the first verse. His idea was that everybody should look at each other in the same angle and perspective disregarding colour of their skin, race, religious beliefs and so on. This idea is synonymous with John Lennon’s “Imagine” song.
Marley’s message is that division into different factions create conflict among people, and most of the time these factions are imaginary. Only unity can bring about peace among people.
Bob Marley penned these lyrics during a severe internal turmoil in Jamaica. He does not fail to mention this in his lyrics: “Hear the children crying.” In this case, it is not necessarily only the children who are affected by these conflicts. His idea was that only innocent people are suffering due to no fault of theirs. Marley’s resolution to ending these conflicts? He places unity among people in an equal position as praying and praising God. The latter will achieve peace within yourself and the former will achieve peace within the world.
In the second verse of “One Love/People Get Ready,” Bob Marley questions the actions of the sinners of the world. Although Bob Marley relies on the love of God as a means of salvation, is there really an escape for the ‘hopeless sinners’ as well? Notice the pronoun ‘hopeless’ to say that there are sinners who can be forgiven and then there are sinners who are beyond salvation. These lyrics have been interpolated from the Impressions’ song “People Get Ready.”
Watch “One Love” Official Music Video
In the third verse, Bob Marley speaks of the beginning and the end of the world, in biblical terms. We can assume that there was peace and unity among people when God created this world. Marley wishes it was the case until the end of time. This also ties in with the fourth and final verse of the song. “So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom,” is a reference to the ‘judgement day,’ where the world will burn to ashes along with its sinners and the worthy will be taken to thy heavenly kingdom. Marley wishes that if all people lived in peace and harmoy there would be no need to go to heaven! We could rather make heaven on Earth itself, and we would not have to die to be in heaven!
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