Sister Nancy, Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Steel Pulse, Pablo make Rolling Stone’s list

March 18, 2024

article reposted by Chelsea


The often-sampled and British Phonographic Industry (BPI)-silver-certified hit Bam Bam by Sister Nancy continues to earn accolades decades after it was first released.

Bam Bam is among seven other reggae songs that are ranked among Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The updated list was revealed last month.

Bam Bam is ranked at #454, the same position it ranked when the first listing was revealed in 2021.

“Well, I’m grateful and appreciative and say congratulations Bam Bam. Keep climbing to new heights,” Sister Nancy commented in an interview with the
Jamaica Observer.

The song was a last-minute addition to Sister Nancy’s 1982 album One, Two, which was recorded at the famed Channel One studio. It was produced by Winston Riley and released via his Techniques label.

Sister Nancy recalled the recording session.

“I recorded all the tracks from the One, Two album at Channel One. The vibes were real, you know, in those days the musicians from the band were all there playing. So the vibes were solid,” she shared.

Errol “Flabba” Holt, Robbie Shakespeare, Carlton “Santa” Davis, Sly Dunbar, Lincoln “Style” Scott, Ansel Collins, Wycliffe “Steelie” Johnson, Winston Wright, Marvin Brooks, Christopher “Sky Juice” Blake, Dean Fraser, and Ronald “Namboo” Robinson are among the musicians who worked on the
One, Two album.

Bam Bam, which is heard in the opening scenes of Hype Williams’s 1998 street-tough opus Belly, has been sampled several times.

Seven years ago, American rapper Jay-Z sampled the song in his recording Bam, which was included on his 2017 album 4:44. The song charted at #93 in the UK; #47 and #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, respectively. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) last December.

Sister Nancy said she had no idea that Bam Bam would have become a hit song.

“No, I did not know, but it did and I’m thankful,” she said.

Asked what it was about Bam Bam that made the song connect with music lovers, she said: “I think it’s the voice and the rhythm pitch.”

The other reggae songs that made the Rolling Stone list are
Ku Klux Klan by Steel Pulse (#460);
Could You Be Loved (#363),
Get Up, Stand Up (#260),
No Woman No Cry (#140),
Redemption Song (#42) by Bob Marley and the Wailers;
The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff (#361); and
King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown by Augustus Pablo (#266).

Ku Klux Klan, released by Island Records in 1978, features Michael Riley on lead vocals. The song takes a look at the rising tide of racial violence in late 1970’s Britain.

Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley and the Wailers was released in 1980 and it became the first song from Marley’s catalogue to chart on the Billboard Dance Music chart.

Released in 1973, Get Up, Stand Up first appeared on the Wailers’ album Burnin’. It was recently certified silver in the UK for sales exceeding 200,000 units.

No Woman Nuh Cry was first featured on the Natty Dread album in 1974. Later that year Marley performed a live version at the London Lyceum, which became the most famous version, and it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. This version has been certified platinum in the UK and gold in Italy, Spain, and in Brazil.

Redemption Song was the final track on Marley’s final album Uprising and was produced by Chris Blackwell and released via Island Records in 1980.

Nigerian singer Tems, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, U2’s Bono, Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, and John Legend have all recorded covers of
No Woman No Cry.

Marley’s acoustic take on No Woman No Cry has been certified gold in Italy, Spain and the UK.

King Tubby Meets the Rockers Uptown was released in 1974 and is described as a revolutionary dub masterwork.

Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come was written for the movie of the same name and released in 1972. It ranked at #50 on the previous
Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

It was recorded at Dynamic Sounds on Bell Road in Kingston. The musicians were Gladstone Anderson (piano), Winston Wright (organ), Winston Grennan (drums), Linford “Hux” Brown (lead guitar), Ranford “Ranny Bop” Williams (rhythm guitar), and Clifton “Jackie” Jackson (bass).

There have been several covers of the song. Some of the most notable are those recorded by Joe Jackson, disco act Rockers Revenge, English ska band Madness, Cher, Willie Nelson, and rocker Keith Richards.

Among the other songs making the Rolling Stone list are
No Ordinary Love by Sade (#459),
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston (#94),
I Feel Love by Donna Summer (#52),
Truth Hurts by Lizzo (#48),
Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliott (#8),
What’s Going On? by Marvin Gaye (#6), and
A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke (#3).

Respect by Aretha Franklin, which was a #1 hit single in 1967, tops the tally at #1.

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