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The Melodians — Rivers of Babylon
Album: The Harder They Come
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2784








Released: 1972
Length: 4:11
Plays (last 30 days): 3
By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept
When he remembered Zion

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

Sing it out loud
Sing a song of freedom, brother
Sing a song of freedom, sister

So, let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight
Oh, Fari

So, let the words of our mouth
And the meditation of our heart
Be acceptable in Thy sight
Oh, Fari

We got to sing it together
Everyone
La la la la la

By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept
When he remembered Zion

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?

'Cause the wicked carried us away in captivity
Required from us a song
How can we sing King Alpha's song
In a strange land?
Comments (202)add comment
"Carried us away our DVD" 
 lindaurq wrote:


The last verse is about revenge.  The New Testament calls us to a higher standard......


The last verse is about asking God to send his revenge.  New Testament doesn't back away from that an inch.  "Vengeance is mine, I will repay," says the Lord.  And then there's the book of Revelation.
boney M! Boney M! Money M makes all the songs better! 
 mattenuttall wrote:


A shrewd observation!  Makes for a great song, but religious texts provide a lot of flexibility for their followers....


The last verse is about revenge.  The New Testament calls us to a higher standard......
May be, this was romantic in their time, but thinking about Zion is not an opinion to me in these days.
 flyboy wrote:

Psalm 137.  Notice they don't sing the last verse about dashing the Babylonian infants against the rocks.



A shrewd observation!  Makes for a great song, but religious texts provide a lot of flexibility for their followers....
Psalm 137.  Notice they don't sing the last verse about dashing the Babylonian infants against the rocks.
 obispo wrote:

I didn't see anyone claiming that any Germans claimed writing any psalms.

The issue here is "intellectual property" (IP), not authorship of lyrics.  The Melodians took some ancient texts, which are in the public domain, put them to a melody that *they* created.  The association of the lyrics with their original melody becomes their IP and is protected by copyright law.  Boney-M/Farian used it without attribution and were rightly challenged. 

For the record, I love this track!  Boney-M's is certainly dance-able, but this one appeals more to the soul.


If there's any beef with the lyrics sue Nebuchadnezzar
bumped 8>9 - just because this is the real deal
How dry I am
How wet I'll be
If I don't find
The bathroom key

(my youth)
 JHZ wrote:
 sandymcp wrote:
Good grief... Germans claiming they wrote Psalm 137 is beyond belief - thus nonsense.
[ . . . ]
Neither Melodians nor Germans can claim authorship of these timeless lyrics.
 Whether it is beyond belief or not, both the Melodians and Farian claimed to have written this song, or in the case of the Melodians having adapted the lyrics from the King James translation of the bible psalm to music. Farian did not credit the Melodians although he used basically the same music as did the Melodians. From my understanding writing a song involves both the creation of lyrics (in this case the adaptation of existing lyrics) and a musical form (harmony, melody ...) for presentation. [ . . . ]

I didn't see anyone claiming that any Germans claimed writing any psalms.

The issue here is "intellectual property" (IP), not authorship of lyrics.  The Melodians took some ancient texts, which are in the public domain, put them to a melody that *they* created.  The association of the lyrics with their original melody becomes their IP and is protected by copyright law.  Boney-M/Farian used it without attribution and were rightly challenged. 

For the record, I love this track!  Boney-M's is certainly dance-able, but this one appeals more to the soul.
Solid 10
Sublime does a great cover of this song, though it is a hidden track on 40 Ozs to Freedom
                  Trevor McNaughton, Tony Brevett, and Brent Dowe 





The OG. Some big tunes in Jamaica in the 60's
 uksminas wrote:


what a drag
hummmm, so good stuff it is
How can we sing King Alpha's song?


א עַל נַהֲרוֹת, בָּבֶל—שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ, גַּם-בָּכִינוּ: בְּזָכְרֵנוּ, אֶת-צִיּוֹן.1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

Whenever I hear this tune I think of Boney M. 
Sorry, it's inseparably connected with my youth

 scrubbrush wrote:

Wait.... no! seriously? The you prefer the disco remake? 


I grew up with that version so that's what always runs through my head even when I hear the original. BUT I probably would have preferred this version if I had grown up with it instead. 
Only 10 will do. For me and for you! Only 20 will do. Stand up people - of all velours and colours - it Matt worldwide. Look me up - I’ll be there in a bit when I can half figure the internet! Bond at me y’all - I really wanna learn how to push my our your folks messages ASAP 🪒 before we’re sucked under from our own demise. I need want call ask approach (sensitively) to share earth shattering news that this station RP provides Matches32@gmail,com
Great LP, great movie
 Stratocaster wrote:

Great song, and same for me - the Boney M cover gets the edge.
 
Even when you know it is one German guy doing all the vocals?
Oh c’mon. It’s so hard...
bloody hell, just watched (over and over again) the landing video of Perseverance on Mars

https://mars.nasa.gov/resource...


....

ahem, sorry, carry on.   


Read the wikipedia entry just for the awesome first names!
 treatment_bound wrote:
I think I bought this soundtrack on vinyl after seeing the film almost 40 years ago.  Still play it.
 
the harder they come is OK, the movie rockers well... ROCKS
 Stratocaster wrote:

Great song, and same for me - the Boney M cover gets the edge.
 
Wait.... no! seriously? The you prefer the disco remake? 
Okay - I learned something today, by reading the Wikipedia entry here. This is rocksteady music - I like it.
 Jelani wrote:
Hmm. Looks like he over-toked and he's trying to maintain his cool. Right after this cuts, he coughed up a lung...
It's funny, there's a guy in town who walks around 
with this guys final facial expression constantly on his face.

 

yeah man...lush chiled vibe...
I love this album
A nine Straight Out of the mine
 uksminas wrote:
 
It's funny, there's a guy in town who walks around 
with this guys final facial expression constantly on his face.

 Piego wrote:

Everytime I hear this song I remember a car trip to Spain with 4 friends in the summer of 1978. When the Boney M.-Cassette of the driver ran through the umpteenth time, I let him give it to me during exactly this song and threw it out of the window without any comment. Not nice, I know, but from that moment on the vacation was saved. 
 
Reminds me of a similar road trip with ABBA on the umpteenth time.
 GoodKarm wrote:
everytime I hear this song... I long for some Boney M.
123K
 
Everytime I hear this song I remember a car trip to Spain with 4 friends in the summer of 1978. When the Boney M.-Cassette of the driver ran through the umpteenth time, I let him give it to me during exactly this song and threw it out of the window without any comment. Not nice, I know, but from that moment on the vacation was saved. 
 NoEnzLefttoSplit wrote:
rpdevotee wrote:
Hey Bill...
You've got the wrong image wit this song.  It shows Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come".
First time I've seen this.
Great song, btw!
 
um, no he hasn't.
 

ah.. I sit corrected.
 sandymcp wrote:


Good grief... Germans claiming they wrote Psalm 137 is beyond belief - thus nonsense. THE song is almost a verbatim copy of the King James translation        What on earth were you smoking when you wrote this?  Neither Melodians nor Germans can claim authorship of  these timeless lyrics.
 Whether it is beyond belief or not, both the Melodians and Farian claimed to have written this song, or in the case of the Melodians having adapted the lyrics from the King James translation of the bible psalm to music. Farian did not credit the Melodians although he used bascially the same music as did the Melodians. From my understanding writing a song involves both the creation of lyrics (in this case the adaptation of existing lyrics) and a musical form (harmony, melody ...) for presentation. While Psalms seemed to have orignated as "words accompanying music" I don't believe that the melody, rhythmn etc. used when this psalm originally was written nor when it was translated for the King James bible where set to the music written by the Melodians.

 rotekz wrote:
I grew up with the Boney M version but love this too.
 
Me too!  and their Christmas album was popular in our house too!  :)  123K
everytime I hear this song... I long for some Boney M.
123K
 JHZ wrote:
Initially the German producer of the Boney-M version, Frank Farian had not credited the two Melodians who worte this song - only added them to the credits (and presumably only then accepted that they would at least get paid for Boney M butchering their song) when they protested. Should have been a sign. Farian later on "produced" Milli Vanilli ...
 

Good grief... Germans claiming they wrote Psalm 137 is beyond belief - thus nonsense. THE song is almost a verbatim copy of the King James translation        What on earth were you smoking when you wrote this?  Neither Melodians nor Germans can claim authorship of  these timeless lyrics.
Such a cool vibe!! 
iCONIC!
Rastafari
Just coincidentally happened to be watching Usain Bolt videos when this came on :)
How dry I am?  
Are there any even earlier versions?
Initially the German producer of the Boney-M version, Frank Farian had not credited the two Melodians who worte this song - only added them to the credits (and presumably only then accepted that they would at least get paid for Boney M butchering their song) when they protested. Should have been a sign. Farian later on "produced" Milli Vanilli ...
I still hear "how can we sing an aardvark song in Australia" and that is how I will continue to sing it when I sing along! {#Propeller}


re: not hearing the other version, I was born in '77 and was pretty content to listen to my folks' choice of classic rock stations until my late teens.
 ziggytrix wrote:
I just checked out this Boney M version you guys are talking about.

It's horrible!!!

 
  I'm surprised you hadn't heard that version before; it seemed unavoidable in the late '70s and early '80s.
Very nice {#Dancingbanana_2}
 4176 wrote:{#Wink}

My oh my, this really *is* the original version. This song is so tied to Boney M it's almost unthinkable it is not theirs. I like both versions.

Also this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsqSNIR5DsU (not sure if it even is a (loose) cover or a different song.... seems to be the latter though)



 

rpdevotee wrote:
Hey Bill...
You've got the wrong image wit this song.  It shows Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come".
First time I've seen this.
Great song, btw!
 
um, no he hasn't.
Hey Bill...
You've got the wrong image wit this song.  It shows Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come".
First time I've seen this.
Great song, btw!
Beautiful song.  

My oh my, this really *is* the original version. This song is so tied to Boney M it's almost unthinkable it is not theirs. I like both versions.

Also this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsqSNIR5DsU (not sure if it even is a (loose) cover or a different song.... seems to be the latter though)


 ziggytrix wrote:
I just checked out this Boney M version you guys are talking about.

It's horrible!!!

 
Try watching them on video.  Hilarious.
I just checked out this Boney M version you guys are talking about.

It's horrible!!!
 Rockstable wrote:
This version is much better than Boney M's. I almost like the song now. I like this reggae version of it.

 
it's way better and I love it {#Daisy}
Turning this one waaaaaaaaaay up today. Sing along time!
 thewiseking wrote:
א  עַל נַהֲרוֹת, בָּבֶל—שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ, גַּם-בָּכִינוּ:    בְּזָכְרֵנוּ, אֶת-צִיּוֹן.1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

 
there is your source
The lyrics are adapted from the Psalms 19 and 137.  It's a great track.

mread wrote:

I can't find anything to back this up.  It's apparently more about Black liberation in the context of the Rastafarian movement, not the context of slavery.  Related, yes.  But anyway, the appeal is broader and resonates with anyone who longs for a former time/place of peace and comfort.  Great song.  8.

 


 Proclivities wrote:

This is the original version, not a cover.

 
Thank God for the best cover version. ;-)

All those years and i never knew it was a cover.  {#Cheesygrin}
 SeriousLee wrote:
Ain't no cover version that does justice to this song. Especially not a damn reggae version!

 
This is the original version, not a cover.
Ain't no cover version that does justice to this song. Especially not a damn reggae version!
A classic.
It's good wet Saturday afternoon music. It will also suit late night music. Although I was relieved when it was over and then they played (Are You) The One I've Been Waiting For by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
This version is much better than Boney M's. I almost like the song now. I like this reggae version of it.
 bachbeet wrote:
It may be taken from the Bible but it's about the slaves taken from Africa to America.

 
I can't find anything to back this up.  It's apparently more about Black liberation in the context of the Rastafarian movement, not the context of slavery.  Related, yes.  But anyway, the appeal is broader and resonates with anyone who longs for a former time/place of peace and comfort.  Great song.  8.
 rotekz wrote:
I grew up with the Boney M version but love this too.

 
Boney M, oh sweet bird of youth. 
א  עַל נַהֲרוֹת, בָּבֶל—שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ, גַּם-בָּכִינוּ:    בְּזָכְרֵנוּ, אֶת-צִיּוֹן.1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
 hencini wrote:
If what Casey Kasem (sp?) told me in the mid 80s is still correct, these are the oldest lyrics of any pop song ever recorded.  And that's (part of) what makes RP awesome.  : )

 
~ 1015 BC, if anyone has/will beat that, they'll probably be in a Mandopop song.
 onelittlemoose wrote:

I'd never heard it before either. Turns out it is "original."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivers_of_Babylon
"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 lyrics are adapted from the texts of Psalms 19 and 137 in the Bible. ...

 
Could have sworn it was a traditional (and therefore anonymous) folk song. Thank you.
*THIS*, not that other version that sometimes plays on here.
I love them harmonies raggae style ~ very cool.. {#Music}
I think I bought this soundtrack on vinyl after seeing the film almost 40 years ago.  Still play it.
Is this the version after having 10 joints?
 Bleyfusz wrote:

Original? Are you kiddin'?

 
I'd never heard it before either. Turns out it is "original."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivers_of_Babylon
"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 lyrics are adapted from the texts of Psalms 19 and 137 in the Bible. ...
I grew up with the Boney M version but love this too.
Please stop dissin on Boney M
Hands up!  Don't shoot!!
 ziakut wrote:
Reggae has a bounce and lift to it that is appealing. Unfortunately this type of music has the staying power of a wet match. Every reggae tune should never exceed :48 seconds. Well...ok :57 seconds.

 
My thoughts entirely.
 unclehud wrote:
"Nice way to wake up in the Kingdom this morning," he said, as he posted via iPhone and smiled.  "I's gonna be a good day."
 
way cool brotha
Boney M. rulez!
 tomka wrote:
cool, never heard the original before

 
Original? Are you kiddin'?
 stevendejong wrote:

(edit) when you said "everything", did you mean an "everything" that includes commercial rap, hiphop, RnB, urban, or whatever that garbage is called nowadays? No? Thought so ;-)

... I sometimes fear I am a musical racist. Then, I quickly play some Youssou N'Dour :-) 

 
People accuse me of being a musical racist, but I do like the Beastie Boys!

{#Nyah}
Reggae has a bounce and lift to it that is appealing. Unfortunately this type of music has the staying power of a wet match. Every reggae tune should never exceed :48 seconds. Well...ok :57 seconds.

Delightful rendition, never did like the Boney M version


If what Casey Kasem (sp?) told me in the mid 80s is still correct, these are the oldest lyrics of any pop song ever recorded.  And that's (part of) what makes RP awesome.  : )
"Nice way to wake up in the Kingdom this morning," he said, as he posted via iPhone and smiled.  "It's gonna be a good day."
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD..." is Psalm 19:14 in the Bible.
!00% in agreement with below...in fact going to join in...cos I can and nobody can see me{#Curtain}{#Bananajumprope}{#Bananajumprope}{#Bananajumprope}{#Bananajumprope}{#Bananajumprope}
{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}{#Dancingbanana}
I'm singing out loud! Perfect song for a sunny Oregon Friday!
Hmm...this song is perfectly in synch with me, who just quit a job I can't stand.
Help me, I can't stop bobbing my head.
 
I really apreciate hearing the original!
 And even though, I obviously have the Boney M version engraved in my brain, this one has genuine musical qualities of its own.
P.S. My 2 cents on reggae as a genre: I'm sure others have stated the same: I'm not excited by reggae... but I worship Marley.
 fuzzy wrote:
I wish they'd carry the Boney M. version. {#Sad}
 
I wish they'd carry neither of them :-)
 Isobel wrote:
Why do I hate reggae so much? I love every other sort of music; African, Brazilian, rock, folk, country, blues, well, everything. But reggae, for some reason, makes me want to pull my hair out. I realize this makes me a freak. I also hate football. And I live in Alabama. I probably need help.
 
I'm geographically a bit further from Jamaica, but I share with you an irrational irritation when it comes to reggae. A rationalization. I think reggae is a truly boring, overly self-similar, sluggish genre.

Then again, when you said "everything", did you mean an "everything" that includes commercial rap, hiphop, RnB, urban, or whatever that garbage is called nowadays? No? Thought so ;-)

... I sometimes fear I am a musical racist. Then, I quickly play some Youssou N'Dour :-) 
Why do I hate reggae so much? I love every other sort of music; African, Brazilian, rock, folk, country, blues, well, everything. But reggae, for some reason, makes me want to pull my hair out. I realize this makes me a freak. I also hate football. And I live in Alabama. I probably need help.
 bachbeet wrote:
It may be taken from the Bible but it's about the slaves taken from Africa to America.
 

 Luthien wrote:

and the Caribbean and Latin America (esp since this is is a Jamaican, not American group...).

 
Geographically, Jamaica and the Caribbean are within North America.  This is the best version of this tune - to me, that is.
Me too!  Reminds me of growing up in the islands, I think my parents listened to the LP daily!

fuzzy wrote:
I wish they'd carry the Boney M. version. {#Sad}
 


singing aardvark song in Australia?
 bachbeet wrote:
It may be taken from the Bible but it's about the slaves taken from Africa to America.
 
and the Caribbean and Latin America (esp since this is is a Jamaican, not American group...).

I love this! I live across the street from the lead singer's widow. Great people. Great island. Great music.
 fredriley wrote:

I'm probably being a philistine here, but I'll take the Boney M cover over this every day of the week...
 
Great song, and same for me - the Boney M cover gets the edge.

ONE LOVE EVERYONE!


I remember as a kid in the early '80s listening to Casey Kasem saying that these were the oldest song lyrics ever recorded in pop music.  Not sure if that record still stands, but it seems that it would be tough to top... 

We just introduced this album to our 6 and 8 yr old kids a few days ago on a car trip, and when we got home we had to google the lyrics.  I always throught "strange land" was "Australia."


 tutakea wrote:
it´s not even funny, it´s just plain crap. . . minus 10, if this were available
 
Sigh. Decades later, the crack babies have had babies.

It may be taken from the Bible but it's about the slaves taken from Africa to America.
 shoes wrote:
it's not supposed to be funny.  
it's about being an exile, which must be an awful experience, and sadly an experience that many people live through today.  Timeless song.
 
Amen.

Talking of Boney M (earlier) the male singer died recently...sad 
 tutakea wrote:
it´s not even funny, it´s just plain crap... minus 10, if this were available
 
Oh dear - what a pity - it's such a beautiful lyric - taken from the Bible
 tutakea wrote:
it´s not even funny, it´s just plain crap... minus 10, if this were available
 
it's not supposed to be funny.  
it's about being an exile, which must be an awful experience, and sadly an experience that many people live through today.  Timeless song.
 
 fast_eddie wrote:
I always hate being this guy, but I like the Sublime cover much better
 
jesus, don't be that guy then
I always hate being this guy, but I like the Sublime cover much better
 tutakea wrote:
it´s not even funny, it´s just plain crap... minus 10, if this were available
 
plus 20 here, so we balance to 10 apiece, as it should be

wtf man
Well then, everyone has their own opinion and mine is: this is a SOLID 9!