Nigerian singer Tems has joined the ranks of over 70 artists who have covered Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry (1974). The Afrobeats singer’s voice and Bob’s lyrics are front and centre in Marvel Studios’ first teaser trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which debuted yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con. Watch it above.
The teaser is initially set to her rendition of No Woman, No Cry, before it seamlessly transitions to Kendrick Lamar’s resilient song, Alright (2015).
Last week, during an interview, Billboard Magazine asked Tems what song she would remix if given the opportunity. “I would choose Bob Marley’s Is This Love or No Woman Don’t Cry, because those are one of my favourites,” the 27-year-old responded.
“I’m in London right now, so Is This Love is the best song to listen to when walking down any street in London. You should try it whenever you’re here, just to try it. Listening to Bob Marley in London is the best thing you can do,” the singer continued.
In the 2-minute teaser, Tems, who is best known for her WizKid collab Essence (2020), cuts a very mournful take on Marley’s song, including the line “good friends we have, and good friends we’ve lost.” The emotional clip teases how the characters of the MCU franchise will cope with the absence of T’Challa, previously played by Chadwick Boseman—who passed away at age 43 in 2020, after a four-year battle with cancer.
No Woman, No Cry has been covered a whopping 78 times by artists including Nina Simone, Jimmy Cliff, The Fugees, Boney M, Hugh Masekela, Ken Boothe, and PM Dawn, according to WhoSampled. It has been sampled in 18 songs by artists such as Cocoa Tea, Public Enemy, Sanchez, and Alley Cat.
Written by Marley and his friend Vincent “Tata” Ford, the song was first released on October 25, 1974, on the Natty Dread album.
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A year later a live recording of the track from the album Live!, which took place at the Lyceum Theatre in London during Marley’s Natty Dread Tour, was released as a single. It spent nine weeks on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 22, and became the best-known version of the song. It was included in several compilation albums, including the Diamond-selling Legend in 1984.
An official music video for the Lyceum recording was released in honour of International Reggae Day in July 2020. It has since amassed over 27 million views on YouTube.
Meanwhile, another official live recording of the song, at London’s Rainbow Theatre in 1977, has over 24 million views on YouTube. A 1979 live performance of the song at the Amandla Festival at Harvard Stadium in Boston, MA has over 165 million views on YouTube.
n April this year, No Woman, No Cry became the fifth Bob Marley & The Wailers single to be certified platinum in the UK.
Jamming (1977), Is This Love (1978), and Could You Be Loved (1980) are all currently certified platinum, having sold more than 600,000 units each, while Three Little Birds was certified double platinum earlier this year after it sold more than 1,200,000 units in the country.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong as Nakia, and Winston Duke as M’Baku and will hit theatres on November 11.
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