Get Up, Stand Up

Get Up, Stand Up

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!

Preacherman, don’t tell me,
Heaven is under the earth.
I know you don’t know
What life is really worth.
It’s not all that glitters is gold;
‘Alf the story has never been told:
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. Come on!

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!

Most people think,
Great God will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights. Jah!

Get up, stand up! (Jah, Jah!)
Stand up for your rights! (Oh-hoo!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Life is your right!)
Get up, stand up! (So we can’t give up the fight!)
Stand up for your rights! (Lord, Lord!)
Get up, stand up! (Keep on struggling on!)
Don’t give up the fight! (Yeah!)

We sick an’ tired of-a your ism-skism game –
Dyin’ ‘n’ goin’ to heaven in-a Jesus’ name, Lord.
We know when we understand:
Almighty God is a living man.
You can fool some people sometimes,
But you can’t fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light (What you gonna do?),
We gonna stand up for our rights! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)

So you better:
Get up, stand up! (In the morning! Git it up!)
Stand up for your rights! (Stand up for our rights!)
Get up, stand up!
Don’t give up the fight! (Don’t give it up, don’t give it up!)
Get up, stand up! (Get up, stand up!)
Stand up for your rights! (Get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up! ( … )
Don’t give up the fight! (Get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up! ( … )
Stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up!
Don’t give up the fight! [fadeout]

Get Up, Stand Up

“Get Up, Stand Up” is a reggae song written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. It originally appeared on The Wailers’ 1973 album Burnin’. It was recorded and played live in numerous versions by The Wailers and Bob Marley and The Wailers, along with solo versions by Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. It was later included on the compilations Legend and Rebel Music, as well as Live recordings such as Live at the Roxy among others.

In 1973, “Get Up, Stand Up” peaked at number 33 on the Dutch Top 40. In 1986, it peaked at number 49 in New Zealand.

Premise and usage in concerts

Marley wrote the song while touring Haiti, deeply moved by its poverty and the lives of Haitians, according to his then-girlfriend Esther Anderson. The song was frequently performed at Marley’s concerts, often as the last song. “Get Up, Stand Up” was also the last song Marley ever performed on stage, on 23 September 1980 at the Stanley Theater, now the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On his DVD Live at the Hollywood Bowl, artist Ben Harper relates a childhood experience in which, during a 1978 Bob Marley concert at the Starlight Amphitheater, Peter Tosh showed up unannounced as this song was being performed, took the microphone from Marley and started singing the last verse of the song to thunderous applause. Tosh was on tour opening for the Rolling Stones at the time.

Recordings by the Wailers

The song was re-recorded and re-released by the three major Wailers on their own solo releases, each with varying arrangements and approaches to the third verse, which claims that “Almighty God is a living man”. Bob Marley and the Wailers released a Bob Marley only version on Live! in 1975, this version was notable for the “WO-YO!” refrain after the third verse. Tosh would include his own solo version on his second album, Equal Rights in 1977. Bunny Wailer was the last to release his own version on Protest. This version actually featured Tosh due to his involvement in recording the album before his death.

Bob Marley and the Wailers

Bob Marley and the Wailers were a Jamaican reggae band and, earlier, a ska vocalist group created by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The ska vocalist group Wailers were formed when self-taught musician Hubert Winston McIntosh (Peter Tosh) met the singers Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer), and Robert Nesta Marley (Bob Marley) in 1963. By late 1963 singers Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, and Cherry Smith had joined the Wailers, who was comped by music studio bands.

In early 1970s, Bob and Bunny had learned to play some instruments and brothers Carlton Barrett and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass had joined the reggae band. After Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh left the band in 1974, Bob Marley began touring with new band members. His new backing band included Barrett brothers, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. The “I Threes”, consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley’s wife, Rita, provided backing vocals.

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