September 11, 2023

‘Jazz meets Reggae’: Maxi Priest recalls covering Bob Marley’s gold-certified Waiting in Vain

article reposted by Chelsea


International reggae singer Maxi Priest says when the opportunity to record a version of Waiting in Vain by Bob Marley and the Wailers came up it was a decision that he didn’t regret.

“I grew up with this song. This song has so many memories for me. So when I got the call from Lee Ritenour to sing the song on the album Wes Bound, I was just so happy. I jumped at the opportunity, especially to help create a different interpretation of the song – jazz meets reggae. Lee didn’t need to ask me twice. The song brings back so many memories, and for us to get a number one on the jazz charts with it, it was just another way to spread the vibe of reggae music,” Maxi Priest disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

The version of Waiting in Vain by Maxi Priest and Lee Ritenour was released in 1993 and peaked at #54 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart.

The original version of Waiting in Vain by Bob Marley and the Wailers was certified gold in the United Kingdom last week by the British Phonographic Industry for sales and streaming equivalent exceeding 400,000 units.

The song which was written by Marley, and featured on the 1977 album Exodus, rose to #27 on the UK Singles chart. It was re-released in 1984, where it topped out at #31.

Maxi Priest explained what drew his attention to the song.

“It’s really quite simple. This is a great song written by a great writer. I grew up listening to the song, raving and dancing in house, parties, and clubs. Also as a sound system man, I remember standing in the record shop waiting for the new release and hearing this song for the first time; everybody in the shop putting their hand up to buy a copy. I know what this song has done for many of us, so I was just so glad for the opportunity to sing this song,” said Maxi Priest.

The now-veteran artiste’s cover of Waiting in Vain was also included on the compilation A Twist of Marley: A Tribute, which was released in 2001.

Said Maxi Priest: “To say I’m a fan of Bob Marley doesn’t really do any justice. I think it’s an understatement for me to say I’m just a fan. Wow, it just doesn’t feel right. What Bob Marley truly meant to me as a young man growing up in the United Kingdom is that I see Bob as a disciple. From his lyrical content to his music and melodies, powerful and inspiring to so many… The way he did things quietly… he led through his actions and music, and still does today. His life and music have been such a source of strength and a great teaching for us all growing up in the United Kingdom with the climate of racism and all we had to endure. To make it simple, Bob is like Marcus Garvey, a Moses and Solomon of our time, and for future generations to come. His musical teachings are known worldwide and are sung by everyone.”

Waiting in Vain was a minor hit in 1995 for singer Annie Lennox, better known as the female lead of the 1980s British pop group duo The Eurythmics. Her version, released as the third single from her album Medusa, reached #31 on the UK Singles chart.

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