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Bob Marley – Three Little Birds

The popularity gained by Three Little Birds is undisputed, after being released as a single in 1980, Bob Marley’s song quickly rose to the top of the charts making it to #17 in the UK Top 20.

Although Marley had more intellectually and politically intriguing songs from his album Exodus, Three Little Birds stood out for its simplicity and optimism. Considered to be one of the prime movers of reggae, Marley took on serious topics for his songs inspiring people with his eloquent lyrics and powerful beats. On the other hand, Three Little Birds gives a refreshing break from the somber and reflective mood of the album. It provides simple and memorable lyrics that people can easily sing along to upbeat melody they can dance to. The radio-friendly song is considered to be one of Marley’s most commercial tracks yet maintains its relevance that unites it with the rest of the tracks from the Exodus album.

Despite its simplicity, there have been speculations on what exactly Marley was referring to when he cited the “three little birds bearing the hopeful message”. Initially, one of Marley’s friends’ claimed that Marley meant literal birds as he was known to be very observant and attuned to nature. However, later on, it was claimed that the Three Little Birds were in fact the Wailers, the girl trio who sang the song with Marley. Either way, Marley’s message comes loud and clear decades after he passed away : Don’t worry, ‘bout a thing, coz every little thing is gonna be alright.

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Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There is almost no place in this world where Don’t Worry, Be Happy is not known, unfortunately, the same cannot be same for the talented genius who wrote and performed it.  Because of its reggae melody, the iconic song is often mistaken to be one of Bob Marley’s, when in fact, it belongs to Bobby McFerrin, an American vocalist and conductor. This is not surprising as this is the only song McFerrin ever sang or composed that reached the top of the charts.

Released with the film Cocktail early 1988 Don’t Worry, Be Happy reached #88 in the Billboard Hot 100. Several months later, it was re-released and finally hit #1 in the same music chart, a first for an acapella track. In 1989, the track won McFerrin Grammys for Best Male Pop Performance, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy was derived from the abridged words of wisdom of Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and sage who was popular in the 60’s. Inspirational posters were made from his teachings and McFerrin came across one while visiting a jazz band’s apartment in San Francisco. Inspired by the words, McFerrin composed a song that would go down in history as one of the most iconic and greatest one hit wonder of all time.

Today, Don’t Worry, Be Happy remains as one of the most enduring songs, and like in the futuristic movie Wall-E or the TV series, the Walking Dead, it may very well outlive the human race itself.