“Turn Your Lights Down Low” by Bob Marley
Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” is a love song with a strong sexual undertone, though one that is artistically and tastefully presented. The premise is that the singer and the addressee, i.e. his lover, have not hooked up for “a long, long time”.
And it can also be put forth that he views such a reality as being detrimental to their overall relationship. So now he desires to reintroduce ‘his love’ to the equation. And in that regard, this reads like an established romance. However some parts of the song also come off as if this may be a lady he’s now trying to get with, but all lyrics considered such would not logically be the case.
Then as far as the title goes, advising the addressee to ‘turn her lights down low’ would be a literal statement. Or put otherwise, the time of the evening has come for her and the narrator to get intimate. And further instructing her to ‘pull her window curtains’ actually means to open them.
And obviously the specific evening in which this narrative is set is one in which “Jah moon”, a statement which can be interpreted as ‘the moon God created’, is really beaming. Also judging by how pronouns are used, it can also be concluded that all of this is taking place in the addressee’s home.
So even though the word “love” appears in the lyrics nearly 10 times, conclusively we’re more inclined to classify “Turn Your Lights Down Low” as a sex song more so than a love song per se. It’s obvious that the singer has strong feelings for the addressee.
But more to the point is the idea that this particular night is going to be a blessed one, primarily due to the vocalist’s pent-up arousal, if you will.
Facts about “Turn Your Lights Down Low”
This is a jam which Tuff Gong alongside its distribution partner, Island Records, originally released on the date of 3 June 1977. It was released as part of the band’s classic album Exodus.
And over 20 years later, in 1999, it was reissued as what we will presume to be the final official single from that project. Though that time around, it was actually the Columbia Records’ backed remastering of “Turn Your Lights Down Low”, as a duet featuring Lauryn Hill, which served primarily as part of a remix tribute album to Bob Marley & the Wailers entitled Chant Down Babylon.
So whereas the original was not released as a single, the latter was. And it proved to be an international hit on top of arguably holding the distinction of being Miss Lauryn Hill’s most recognizable tune.
At the time, Lauryn Hill was married to Bob’s son, Rohan Marley. And it was Rohan’s big brother, Stephen Marley, who facilitated the collaboration.
This is a song that was written exclusively by the late Bob Marley (1945-1981). And he and his band, the Wailers, produced it.
At the time, besides Jah Bob, the Wailers were nine musicians’ deep. And those individuals would be as follows:
- Junior Marvin
- Aston Barrett
- Carlton Barrett (1950-1987)
- Tyrone Downie
- Seeco Patterson
And of course in addition to the above were the I-Threes, which consisted of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley.
It is plausible and generally accepted that Bob Marley wrote this song based on his relationship with Cindy Breakspeare, a model he was dating at the time outside of his marriage to Rita Marley.
Despite clearly being smitten by Breakspeare, that relationship was short-lived. However, before ending it did produce 21st century reggae superstar Damian Marley.