Rivers of Babylon – The Melodians

Those of your of a certain age will remember that Boney M had a hit in 1978 with a number called Rivers of Babylon. I knew that that song was based on words from Psalm 19 and Psalm 137 but I didn’t know until recently that the original song was a Rastafari hymn and that the Boney M version was a cover of this beautiful rocksteady version recorded by a Jamaican band called The Melodians in 1970. Note the differences in lyric, e.g. “How can we sing King Alpha’s song…”. Anyway, I really like this version with its excellent vocal harmony and gorgeously relaxed groove.

2 Responses to “Rivers of Babylon – The Melodians”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    That’s much nicer than Boney M’s version, in which the moods of the words and the music are at variance. Don Maclean also did his own version on the American Pie album.

  2. The vocals really are good; also the instrumentation.The New York Dolls also had a song called Babylon–altogether different but good.

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