Rihanna to Sing Bob Marley on Oprah

Rihanna's Oprah Single

Pop/R&B superstar Rihanna will appear on Oprah! today as part of a broadcast that will raise money for the organization Hope for Haiti.

Rihanna is one of my favorite debut artists of the past ten years, and this project reinforces her Caribbean heritage in a sweet way after a year of scandal. Bob Marley‘s “Redemption Song” is one of the great anthems in the history of music. She effortlessly slips in the “hoo” at the end of the second verse a lot of artists choose to avoid (such as Stevie Wonder and even Bob Marley himself when he sang it live).

Thirty years after its initial release, it has themes that relate the situation in Haiti: technology vs. nature, rich vs. poor, or as the old saying goes, “man’s inhumanity to man.”

Rihanna told Oprah, “This song for me, growing up, anytime there was a difficult situation, I always listened to this song because it was so liberating,” said Rihanna. “Even now I listen to it when my back is up against the wall. I feel like the people of Haiti need to hear something inspiring.”

“Redemption Song” also includes a self-referential theme about the power of music, made all the more poignant by being the last song on the last Bob Marley album, “Uprising.”  As someone else tweeted about this version, “Bob Marley would be proud,” and I agree.

Click to buy “Redemption Song” by Rihanna (proceeds to benefit Hope for Haiti).

Joe Strummer and Johnny Cash recorded versions and I hope Willie Nelson will sing it someday too. As a bonus, here’s Joe’s:

“Redemption Song” by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

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