No Woman, No Cry

"No Woman, No Cry" is a reggae song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The song first became known in 1974 from the studio album Natty Dread. This studio version used a drum machine. The live version from the 1975 album Live! was released as a single and is the best known version; it was included on the greatest hits compilation Legend, and was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on July 17, 1975 as part of his Natty Dread Tour.

The live version of the song ranked No. 37 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"No Woman, No Cry"
Single by Bob Marley and the Wailers
from the album Live!
B-side"Kinky Reggae"
Songwriter(s)Vincent Ford
Bob Marley (uncredited)
Bob Marley and the Wailers singles chronology
"So Jah Seh"
"No Woman, No Cry"
"Jah Live"

Writing credit

Though Bob Marley may have written the song,[1][2] or at least the melody,[3] songwriter credits were given to Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley's who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica where Marley grew up. The royalty payments received by Ford ensured his efforts would continue.[4]

1974 studio recording

On Natty Dread, Jean Roussel provided the arrangement and Hammond organ parts for this recording.

Charts and certifications

Peak positions

Chart (1975) Peak
UK Singles Chart 22
Dutch Top 40 23
New Zealand Singles Chart 30
Chart (1981) Peak
UK Singles Chart 8


Region Certification
Italy (FIMI)[5] Gold
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver


The title and main refrain, "No Woman, No Cry" is rendered "No, woman, nuh cry" in Jamaican Patois. The "nuh" is pronounced with a short schwa vowel (a "mumbled" vowel, often represented as "uh" in spelling) and represents a clitic ("weakened") form of "no". It is the equivalent to the contraction "don't". The song is about growing up in the ghetto and persuading a woman that things will get better, entreating her not to cry.[7]

The Fugees version

"No Woman, No Cry"
Single by Fugees
from the album The Score
FormatCD single
GenreHip hop, reggae fusion
LabelRuffhouse Records
Producer(s)Salaam Remi
Fugees singles chronology
"Ready or Not"
"No Woman, No Cry"
"Rumble in the Jungle"

"No Woman, No Cry" is the fourth single from the Fugees' second studio album, The Score. The song was produced by Salaam Remi. The Fugees' version of the track features Wyclef Jean on lead vocals, and changes the lyric "in a government yard in Trenchtown" to "in a government yard in Brooklyn". An official remix of the track, featuring Stephen Marley, was included on the group's third release, Bootleg Versions. Wyclef Jean recorded a solo version of the track for his Greatest Hits compilation in 2003.

Track listing

  1. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP version) - 4:03
  2. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix) - 3:55
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (Remix instrumental) - 3:55
  4. "Killing Me Softly" (Live) - 4:25
  1. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" - 5:03
  2. "Don't Cry, Dry Your Eyes" (Instrumental) - 5:03
  3. "No Woman, No Cry" (LP version) - 4:03
  4. "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Live) - 6:04

Other cover versions

The song has been covered by numerous other artists including:

Art Ensemble Of Chicago (instrumental version)

With other lyrics/in other languages

Parodies and sampling

  • Naughty by Nature sampled Boney M's version of the song for their hit single "Everything's Gonna Be Alright."
  • In the 2004 video game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, precinct detective Dick Gumshoe sings a parody of the song titled "No Motive, No Crime", much to the annoyance of the title character.
  • In 2013, an a-cappella satirical video parody "No Woman, No Drive" about Saudi Arabia banning women from driving, went viral on YouTube with over 11,000,000 hits.[17]


  1. ^ "Entertainment | No Woman No Cry 'songwriter' dies". BBC News. 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  2. ^ "In pictures: The legacy of Bob Marley". BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  3. ^ Humphries, Patrick (2003). "No Woman No Cry". BBC Radio 2. BBC. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  4. ^ "Bob Marley, 'No Woman, No Cry' | 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  5. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "British single certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – No Woman No Cry". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 29, 2014. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type No Woman No Cry in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  7. ^ Dawes, Kwame. Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius. London: Sanctuary, 2002. ISBN 1-86074-433-8. Pg. 119
  8. ^ "Graham Parker - No Woman, No Cry". YouTube. 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  9. ^ "Linkin Park- The Messenger (with 'No Woman No Cry')- Tel Aviv, Israel". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  10. ^ The Today Show, July 2007
  11. ^ Nelson, Trevor. "Wizkid – Joy / No Woman No Cry (Bob Marley Cover) in the 1Xtra Live Lounge (Lagos, Nigeria)". BBC Radio 1Xtra. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Joe Dassin - Si tu pense a moi". YouTube. 2009-05-31. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  13. ^ "Joe Dassin - Si Tu Penses A Moi / Sorry (Vinyl)". Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  14. ^ "Daniela Mercury". Daniela Mercury. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  15. ^ "Hereford & Worcester". BBC News. 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  16. ^ "Murder 1 (2) - American Junkie (CD, Album)". Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  17. ^ "No Woman, No Drive". YouTube. 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2016-10-09.

External links

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