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"No Woman, No Cry" is a reggae song by Bob Marley & The Wailers. The song first became known in 1974 through the studio album Natty Dread. The live version from the 1975 album Live!is best known — it was this version which was released on the greatest hits compilation Legend. The original demo version of the song which is unreleased was a Gospel version. This version had only the piano riff as the main instrument and was recorded in London for Island Records in 1973 with Peter Tosh and some unknown female backing singers.

At the same time of this recording, the demo of the Island version of "Lively up Yourself" was recorded. This was the last time all three original Wailers (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Neville "Bunny" Livingston - also known as Bunny Wailer) recorded together in a studio. This version too is unreleased.

The live version of the song was No. 37 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Writing credit[edit source | editbeta][]

Though Bob Marley may have written the song,[1][2] or may have written the melody,[3] songwriter credits were given to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley's who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica where Marley grew up. The royalty checks received by Ford ensured the survival and continual running of his soup kitchen.[4]

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta][]

Chart (1975) Peak


UK Singles Chart 22
Dutch Top 40 23
New Zealand Singles Chart 30
Chart (1981) Peak


UK Singles Chart 8

Lyrics[edit source | editbeta][]

The title and main refrain, "No Woman, No Cry" is rendered "No, woman, nuh cry" in Jamaican Patois. The "nuh" is pronounced with a short schwa vowel (a "mumbled" vowel, often represented as "uh" in spelling) and represents a clitic("weakened") form of "no". It is the equivalent to the contraction "don't". The song is about growing up in the ghetto and persuading a woman that things will get better, entreating her not to cry.[5]

The Fugees version[edit source | editbeta][]

"No Woman, No Cry"
Single by Fugees
from the album The Score
Released 1996
Format CD Single
Recorded 1995
Genre Hip hopreggaefusion
Label Ruffhouse Records
Producer Salaam Remi
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Fugees singles chronology
"Ready or Not"


"No Woman, No Cry"


"Rumble in the Jungle"


"No Woman, No Cry" is the fourth single from the Fugees' second studio album, The Score. The song was produced by Salaam Remi. The Fugees' version of the track features Wyclef Jeanon lead vocals. An official remix of the track, featuring Stephen Marley (musician), was included on the group's third release, Bootleg VersionsWyclef Jean recorded a solo version of the track for his Greatest Hits compilation in 2003.

Tracklisting[edit source | editbeta][]

  1. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP Version) - 4:03
  2. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix) - 3:55
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix Instrumental) - 3:55
  4. "Killing Me Softly" (Live) - 4:25
  1. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" - 5:03
  2. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" (Instrumental) - 5:03
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP Version) - 4:03
  4. "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Live) - 6:04

Other cover versions[edit source | editbeta][]

The song has since been covered by such artists as Nina SimoneGym Class HeroesLondonbeatJoe Dassin (known as "Si Tu Penses À Moi"), Murder One[disambiguation needed]Blues Traveler (with Ziggy Marley), Cas HaleyO.A.R., Devon Allmans HoneytribeJoan BaezXavier RuddJimmy BuffettBoney M.Jonathan ButlerGilberto Gil (Daniela Mercury recorded this version at Balé Mulato - Ao Vivo),[citation needed] The Fugees,Tim Barry, No Use for a NameWhoopi Goldberg and the Reggae Rodents, Hikaru UtadaThe String Cheese IncidentNOFX (live, with El Hefe playing and singing alone), Tila TequilaPearl JamAndrés CalamaroHugh MasekelaHedleyJimmy CliffPauline BlackPeter RowanJohn MayerColbie CaillatBill Bourne,MatisyahuMatt MaherGraham ParkerEdwin McCainKeller WilliamsEterna InocenciaLinkin Park, as a duet by Faith Hill with Tim McGrawSean Kingston,[6] and the Arabic singer Ali Bahar. The "G-punk" band Hed PE as of the year 2002, began covering the song at many of their live shows. The Ukrainian reggae band 5nizza and Russian rock band Chaif covered the song at many of their live performances. German metal band J.B.O. parodied the song as "Ka Alde, ka G'schrei", and Linkin Park covered the song and played part of it during their 2010-2011 A Thousand Suns tour. It can be heard at the beginning of "The Messenger" in Tel Aviv, Israel.[7] The ska punk band Spunge is the only band to ever have officially been given permission by the Marley family to change the lyrics, for their cover on the album Room For Abuse.[8] The pop rap band Sweetbox used a part of the song for the chorus of their song "Everything's Gonna Be Alright". Naughty by Nature sampled Boney M's version of the song for their hit single "Everything's Gonna Be Alright." Lithuanian pop group ŽAS also covered the song. The song "City of Love" by Yes includes "No woman, no cry" as a lyric. * American pianist Louis Durra, recorded an instrumental trio version on "Tangled Up In Blue EP" and "Arrogant Doormats" (2011). It was also covered by The Collective Sound in Bournemouth, England in 2011

Samples and parodies[edit source | editbeta][]

Fergie used interpolations of the song in her song "Mary Jane Shoes" from the album The Dutchess.

In the 2004 videogame Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, precinct detective Dick Gumshoe sings a parody of the song titled 'No Motive, No Crime', much to the annoyance of the titular character.