Meaning of “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley

In this post we shall take a look at some of the most interesting facts that you probably never knew about the hit song Stir It Up by reggae music legend Bob Marley. Being a purely love song, the song is one of the few love songs written and performed by Marley throughout his career. This song, which is one of Marley’s most covered songs, was composed by Marley in 1967 and released as a single by The Wailers that same year.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Bob Marley's Stir It Up at

Stir It Up

Two Possible Meanings of “Stir It Up”

There are two prevailing theories regarding the meaning of this song. One it that is in an ode to marijuana, with Ras Bob being a known ganja aficionado (as illustrated on the cover of Catch a Fire, the 1973 album “Stir It Up” is featured on). Indeed any Bob Marley song which includes words like “blaze” and “fire” is going to invoke that sort of interpretation by some. But most likely, as is the general consensus, this track actually serves as a shoutout to Rita Marley, who he married just a year prior to composing “Stir It Up” . Or put differently, this track uses harmless metaphors to express Tuff Gong’s desire to get physical with his new wife.

And of course considering that the lyrics never mention her name (or even romance at all) the song has a general applicability, as in individuals can apply it to their yearnings for their own loved ones.

However perhaps also noteworthy is the fact that many Bob Marley fans don’t associate this song with love, ganja or really anything in particular.  Rather they just appreciate the cool, timeless vibe that Bob and the Wailers have put forth via this track.

Facts about “Stir It Up”

  • Since the song’s release in the 1960s, several musicians have covered it, most notably Johnny Nash, Haddaway and The Black Sorrows.
  • This was the first Marley song to become a hit outside his home country of Jamaica.
  • Marley never made a music video for Stir It Up.
  • After The Wailers released the song for the first time in the late 1960s, the song was later re-recorded and released in 1973 by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It appeared on their critically acclaimed Catch a Fire album. This album made a name for itself as one of the greatest reggae albums of all time. Furthermore, it also made its way to the 126th position on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
  • The song was included in the 1984 Bob Marley and the Wailers compilation titled Legend – an album regarded as the greatest reggae album ever released.
  • Besides Marley’s amazing vocals, another major highlight of this track is Peter Tosh’s brilliant guitar solo. It’s noteworthy to highlight that Tosh was one of the primary members of the Wailers.

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