Perhaps Bob Marley’s most famous song, “I Shot The Sheriff” was originally recorded for the Wailers’ 1973 album Burnin’ – but became an international hit for rocker Eric Clapton in 1974.
The Legacy Of Bob Marley: Eleven Things I Bet You Never Knew Vol.2
“I Shot the Sheriff” is a song written by Bob Marley, told from the point of view of a narrator who admits to having killed the local sheriff, and claims to be falsely accused of having killed the deputy sheriff. The narrator also claims to have acted in self-defense when the sheriff tried to shoot him. Marley explained his intention as follows: “I want to say ‘I shot the police’ but the government would have made a fuss so I said ‘I shot the sheriff’ instead… but it’s the same idea: justice.” In the song it is clear that the sheriff was intimidated by Marley’s growing political influence although Marley had no intentions or political agenda over the people of Jamaica:
“Sheriff John Brown always hated me,
For what, I don’t know:
Every time I plant a seed,
He said kill it before it grow –
He said kill them before they grow.
Some say that the song is about the true story depicted in the movie “The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez”, where a Mexican farmer, falsely accused of horsetheft, shoots and kills a sheriff in self-defense because of a language misunderstanding between the English and Spanish definition of “horse” or “caballo”. Gregorio Cortez’s brother is also shot and killed in the interchange, but not before he shots and kills the deputy. Gregorio is chased for ten days by hundreds of Texans, but manages to elude them until he is betrayed by a fellow Mexican. This is a true story that happened around 1900 in Texas. Google Gregorio Cortez. A movie by the same name was made by political activists in California but never received wide distribution.
Category: urban music