Sublime: “Rivers of Babylon” from 40 Oz. to Freedom

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Sublime: 40 Oz. to Freedom

About “Rivers of Babylon”

“Rivers of Babylon” is a hidden song by Sublime from their album 40 Oz. to Freedom.

“Rivers of Babylon” is a classic reggae song originally recorded by the Jamaican group The Melodians. The song was written by Brent Dowe, Trevor McNaughton, and Frank Farian, with its lyrics inspired by Psalm 137 from the Bible, which recounts the Jewish exile in Babylon.

The Melodians’ rendition of “Rivers of Babylon” was released in 1970 on their album Rivers of Babylon and became a significant hit both in Jamaica and internationally. The song’s catchy melody, soulful harmonies, and the spiritual message resonated with audiences. It’s characterized by its upbeat reggae rhythm and the memorable chorus: “By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down, and there we wept when we remembered Zion.”

The song’s popularity led to several cover versions and adaptations by various artists over the years. Perhaps one of the most famous covers is by German group Boney M. whose disco-infused version became a massive chart-topping hit worldwide and was a number one hit in the UK for five weeks. It was issued as the lead single from their 1978 album Nightflight to Venus.

“Rivers of Babylon” remains an enduring reggae classic, cherished for its melodic beauty and the timeless message of hope and longing for a better place.

About 40 Oz. to Freedom

40 Oz. to Freedom is the iconic debut album by the American ska punk band Sublime, released in 1992. This album introduced the world to Sublime’s unique fusion of punk, reggae, ska, and surf rock, creating a sound that would become emblematic of the 1990s alternative rock scene.

The album includes some of Sublime’s most famous tracks, such as “Date Rape,” “Smoke Two Joints,” and “Badfish.” The songs are characterized by their infectious melodies, laid-back vibes, and lyrics that often touch on themes of rebellion, love, and substance use.

40 Oz. to Freedom has maintained enduring popularity and cultural significance, solidifying Sublime’s status as a genre-blending band with a lasting impact on the music landscape. Tragically, lead singer Bradley Nowell passed away in 1996, shortly before the band’s mainstream breakthrough, but his legacy lives on through albums like this.

How to find “Rivers of Babylon”

On CD: Play through the last track

Listen to “Rivers of Babylon”

“Rivers of Babylon” was submitted to by EAM. Can you add something? Please let us know!

Click here to buy 40 Oz. to Freedom on CD, MP3 album, or vinyl at Amazon (US)

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