"Rivers of Babylon
" is a rastafarian
song written and recorded by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton of the Jamaican reggae
group The Melodians
in 1970. The Melodians' original versions of the song appeared in the sound track to the 1972 movie The Harder They Come
and the 1999 Nicolas Cage movie Bringing Out the Dead
. It became popularized in Europe by the 1978 Boney M.
The song is based on the Biblical hymn Psalm 137
, a hymn expressing the yearnings of the Jewish
people in exile
following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem
in 586 BC
The namesake rivers of Babylon
are the Euphrates
river, its tributaries, and the Chebar river. The song also has words from :
It is one of a few pop songs whose lyrics come directly from the Bible (See also Turn! Turn! Turn!
by Pete Seeger
and The Lord's Prayer
by Sister Janet Mead
For Rastafarians the river is the Atlantic Ocean and Zion is Africa, where their fathers were taken into captivity to become slaves in America (Babylon).
Boney M. version
Rivers of Babylon
was covered in 1978 by German disco band Boney M
, with a version that was released as a single. Boney M.'s release stayed at the #1 position in the UK for five weeks and was also the group's only significant US chart entry, peaking at #30 in the Pop charts. In the UK Boney M. sold more than 1,985,000 copies of the... Read More