I’ve been trying to make an effort to do more blog posting and writing and so I starting posting my song of the day. I have been accused by some people of being obsessed with the 70s—at least music-wise. But the real question is how can one not be obsessed with the 70s music-wise. So as an exercise, I thought I’d post a song from each of the top 70 albums of the 70’s as chosen by Paste magazine.
Number 70 is the soundtrack from the movie The Harder they Come starring Jimmy Cliff. I am one of those people who always says, oh I like every kind of music. Truthfully, though, Reggae is not generally my jam. I do, however, remember seeing this movie as part of a Caribbean history class in college. The film ,made in Jamaica, by Jamaicans, a first of it’s kind, was shown at the Venice film festival in 1972. Roger Ebert said about the film:
Perry Henzell’s “The Harder They Come” is sort of two movies in one. First we get a Jamaican version of the standard black exploitation movie, with guns and gangsters and a flashy superhero turned folk hero. But the second movie—the one that makes the experience worthwhile is a celebration of Jamaican music and style. This was the first extensive American movie exposure for reggae, the insinuating Jamaican music that was just then beginning to make itself heard over omnipresent rock.
The soundtrack is from 1973 and my song today is the title track. This is the song that Jimmy Cliff, as the hero of the film, an aspiring reggae artist, records as part of the plot.
Michael Dare in his Criterion Collection essay about the film said:
Reggae was more than a style of music, it was a political, social, and artistic movement throughout Jamaica. The police shut down production on The Harder They Come many times due to the radical political content…
The Harder They Come perfectly reflected the political climate of the times, when similar forms of anti-government movements were sweeping America and the world. Audiences were ready to identify with a film about a hero who would “rather be a free man in my grave/Than living as a puppet or a slave.”
Image Source: moviepostershop.com