“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley and The Wailers has been included on a list of the best songs about independence compiled by Hello Music Theory, one of the top websites offering online music education. In a ranked list of 21 songs about independence selected by the site, Marley’s “Redemption Song” is listed as Number 19.
According to Hello Music Theory, nothing feels better than having the ability to enjoy your own company, standing on your own, and not allowing anyone else to run your life. While it is often frightening to follow your own path, accepting yourself is a great help in moving toward independence. The site offers a list of songs as inspiration for achieving that goal.
Bob Marley wrote “Redemption Song” in 1979 at a time in his life when he was thinking about his own mortality, having been diagnosed with cancer and experiencing significant pain. It is the last track on the 12th album recorded by Marley and The Wailers, “Uprising,” which was produced by Chris Blackwell and released on the Island Records label.
Considered one of his greatest songs, Marley used part of a speech given in 1937 by Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero and a strong advocate of Black nationalism. The song contains the line, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, None, but ourselves can free our minds.” The lyrics urge people to follow their own life paths rather than live the way society may expect them to live. The words also encourage listeners to eliminate negative influences in their lives and work toward fulfilling their potential.
The full list of 21 songs chosen by Hello Music Theory as the best in addressing the concept of independence is included as follows, in order of their rank on the list: “Try It On My Own” By Whitney Houston, “Miss Independent” By Ne-Yo, “Independence Day” By Martina McBride, “I Will Survive” By Gloria Gaynor, “Independent Women, Pt. 1” By Destiny’s Child, “It’s My Life” By Bon Jovi, “Breakaway” By Kelly Clarkson, “Wide Open Spaces” By The Chicks, “Confident” By Demi Lovato, “Control” By Janet Jackson, “Stronger” By Britney Spears, “Soar” By Christina Aguilera, “I Won’t Back Down” By Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, “Independent” By Salt-N-Pepa, “Unwritten” By Natasha Bedingfield, “King Of Anything” By Sara Bareilles, “Follow Your Arrow” By Kacey Musgraves, “Bird Set Free” By Sia, “Redemption Song” By Bob Marley And The Wailers, “It’s My Life” By No Doubt, and “Free” By Ultra Naté.