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"Jamaica Farewell" is a Jamaican-style folk song (mento). The lyrics for the song were written by Lord Burgess (Irving Burgie), an American-born, half-Barbadian songwriter. It is about the beauties of the West Indian Islands.
|Song by Harry Belafonte|
|from the album Calypso|
Harry Belafonte recording Edit
Many, including Belafonte himself, have said that the song was popular in the West Indies since long before Burgess. It is believed that Burgess compiled and modified the song from many folk pieces to make a new song. Burgess acknowledged his use of the tune of another mento, "Iron Bar". The line "ackee, rice, saltfish are nice" refers to the Jamaican national dish.
Artists who have covered "Jamaica Farewell" include:
- Chuck Berry (feat. The Five Dimensions)
- Sir Lancelot
- Marty Robbins
- Don Williams
- Jimmy Buffett
- Sam Cooke
- Nina & Frederik
- Carly Simon
- Laura Veirs, on her 2011 album Tumble Bee
- Caetano Veloso and Sting, while playing a medley of his own "Can't Stand Losing You / Reggatta de Blanc" while still with The Police in 1983
- Carleton "Bill" Bailey on the album Cruising With Bill Bailey (recorded while on board MS Southward) (1960)
- Ray Conniff Orchestra, on the album Happiness Is (1966)
- James Last Orchestra, on the album Music From Across The Way (1971)
- The Jukebox Band, on the TV show Shining Time Station, episode "Bully for Mr. Conductor"
- Austrian pop singer Chris Denning (alias Helmut Rulofs) in 1978
- Desmond Dekker, on the album Caribbean Playground.
- Lil Ugly Mane, in a section of "Side Two-A" on the album Third Side of Tape
- Robin Cook aka Jonas Ekfeldt
- Fisherman's Friends, on the album Sole Mates
- The Kingston Trio, who led the folk revival of the late 1950s, took their name from the mention of Kingston, Jamaica in the song; though they only recorded it years later, in 2006.
In other languages Edit
This song has been translated into many languages. For example, in Bengali, there exist several translations, some of which are quite well known. One Bengali version of the song became an important anthem for the Naxalite revolutionary movement in the 1970s and thus has significance for Bengali intellectuals in Kolkata society. The Bangladeshi band Souls also sang their own translated version in early 1990s, which instantly became a hit in Bangladesh.
The song "Iron bar" was published along with Swedish lyrics by Ulf Peder Olrog in 1947 as "Mera bruk i baljan boys" in his "Rosenblom i Västindien" sheet music album. Olrog had earlier in 1947 travelled in the West Indies and wrote down some "native songs" in Jamaica, of which 3 were published with Swedish lyrics. The song was a large record hit with singer Anders Börje. Later on, "Jamaica Farewell" was covered with lyrics in Swedish by Schytts as Jamaica farväl, scoring a 1979 Svensktoppen hit. Streaplers recorded a 1967 Swedish-language version of the song, with the lyrics "Långt långt bort". Their version became a 1968 Svensktoppen hit.
German translations are "Abschied von Kingston Town" ("Farewell from Kingston Town") by Bruce Low and "Weil der Sommer ein Winter war" ("For the Summer was a Winter") by Nana Mouskouri.
The Vietnamese translation is "Lời Yêu Thương" ("Love Words") by Đức Huy
Soundtrack appearances Edit
See also Edit
- Larry Birnbaum (2013). Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock 'n' Roll. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 2024. ISBN 978-0-8108-8638-4.
- Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955–2012. Record Research. p. 70.
- "Search for "Jamaica Farewell"". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
- "Chris Denning – Jamaica Farewell". Discogs.com. 1978. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
- "Svensktoppen 1979". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- "Svensktoppen 1968". Sverigesradio.se. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
- "Allan Sherman – Shticks and Stones". Genius.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.