“Jamming” by Bob Marley
In the most general sense the word “jamming”, when used in an entertainment context, points to the act of playing music and partying. And whereas it is definitely being used as so in this song, there is a lot more going on underneath.
Most simply explained, the way Bob Marley perceives partying is more along the lines of the Old Testament understanding of the act, i.e. not only being a celebration of life but also a way of praising “the Lord”.
As such in the first verse for instance, even though he is espousing a type of revelry that ‘can be done anyhow’, at the same time what’s being celebrated is a concept like the faithfulness of God. Or put otherwise, life is not easy for the masses.
So occasions such as this ‘jam’ allow them the opportunity to acknowledge that ‘everyday they pay the price’. That is to say, as implied above, that this is a celebration of survival itself.
In the second verse, Jah Bob relatedly speaks to the resiliency of the people. Despite the challenges that they face, “Jah children” are not weaklings, nor are they sellouts. And to drive that point home, Marley notes how “no bullet can stop (them) now”.
But that statement also alludes to the fact that gunmen did indeed try to take Bob out (along with Rita and a couple of other individuals) in a miraculously-failed assassination attempt just six months prior to this song’s release. So we can see why he and the Wailers would be compelled to observe being alive, with “your life (being) worth much more than gold”.
And before closing out the passage, the vocalist also calls on “Jah children” – i.e. the righteous, if you will – to “unite”.
Meanwhile the first phrase of the third verse, that this “jam is about” Marley’s “pride”, pretty much summarizes the second verse, with the vocalist speaking on behalf of all of “Jah’s children”.
Such celebrations are also based on a ‘truth they cannot hide’. And in that regard, in part the vocalist is speaking on some type of “true love” that ‘cannot be resisted’.
And considering all of the above, what he is likely referring to is the love between the people who would adhere to such a celebration, as well as that which exists between such individuals and the Most High.
What “Jamming” is all about
In addition to the above, the chorus basically serves the function of inviting all listeners to the ‘jam’.
So this is one of those kinds of songs that on the surface sounds like a general party tune, which in a way it is. This celebration that Bob Marley and the Wailers are espousing doesn’t have any type of requirement besides participants being in the right state of mind.
But at the same time, upon closer inspection the lyrics are definitely religious, for lack of a better term, in nature.
Facts about “Jamming”
This track was the fourth single from Bob Marley and the Wailers classic LP Exodus. Tuff Gong, a label founded in 1970 by the Wailers, released this track. The label did so in conjunction with the Caribbean-British Island Records on 3 June 1977.
This song has been certified gold Across the Pond. This is in addition to making it onto the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart, accomplishing the latter in conjunction with its B-side, “Punky Reggae Party”.
Moreover “Jamming” is one of Bob Marley’s most identifiable tunes. By virtue of that, it is regularly featured on his greatest hits’ compilations, in addition to being covered by his family members.
Also the song has been used quite extensively in pop media, including being featured by the likes of:
- Miami Vice (1984)
- The Simpsons (1997)
- Television network ABC during NBA coverage
Master Blaster (Jammin’), a hit song that Stevie Wonder dropped in 1980, was inspired by Jamming and served as an ode to Bob Marley.
Was “Jamming” a single release?
Yes, it was. The “Exodus” album birthed a total of six official singles. “Jamming” was single number 4. The others are:
- “Turn Your Lights Down Low”
- “Three Little Birds”
- “Waiting in Vain”
- “One Love”
More Interesting Facts
The Wailers were Bob Marley’s band of instrumentalists and backup singers. The latter was a subunit that is also popularly known as the I-Threes which consisted of Rita Marley, whom Bob was married to from 1966 until ultimately passing away, at the age of 36, in 1981.
The aforenoted attempt on Marley’s life took place in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, on 6 December 1976. In addition to Marley catching a couple of bullets so did Rita Marley, one of the crew’s managers, Don Taylor and another associate named Lewis Griffiths.
And to note, this wasn’t necessarily a personal beef against Marley but rather more along the lines of being politically-inspired, i.e. a testament to his overall societal influence in his homeland.
Great insight into a seemingly simple song love bob all d way till death#one love
I think you all missed this. It’s about living life to the fullest. At my old age I’m Jammin everyday. Be Jammin every day because we only have NOW for sure.
I wish I could thank Bob and the Wailers for the great things they did in life! Much love ❤️ And I love this music