Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)


Bob Marley was a preacher of the love and unity of all living things. This message is apparent in all of his hits such as “Is This Love”, “Three Little Birds”, “Redemption Song” and so on. However, her ultimate creation of love and peace is “One Love” with the band The Wailers. But there is a twist …

“One Love” was originally released by The Wailers in 1965. In 1977, Bob Marley & The Wailers reissued the song as a track from their ninth studio album “Exodus”. This version included parts of the 1965 song “People Get Ready” from Impressions. Therefore, when the song was released in 1977, the song title was listed as “One Love / People Get Ready” giving credits to Curtis Mayfield of Impressions.

“One Love” has had a significant impact on culture over the years. According to Wikipedia, this song was voted “Jamaica’s Best Music in the Past 50 Years,” it was named “Millennium Song by the World Health Organization,” and the song was featured in commercials for The Jamaican Tourist Board since 1994. The song also peaked at No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart after the song was released as a single in 1984.

Listen to the track below.

Download the single “One Love / People Get Ready” on Apple Music and Amazon

At first glance, “One Love” may seem like the ultimate song about love and peace. However, Bob Marley cleverly wrote his thoughts on people’s struggles in the same lyrics.

Bob Marley sings “a love and a heart” among the people of first verse. His idea was that everyone should look at themselves from the same angle and perspective, regardless of their skin color, race, religious beliefs, etc. This idea is synonymous with the song “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Marley’s message is that the division into different factions creates conflict between people, and most of the time those factions are imaginary. Only unity can bring peace between peoples.

Bob Marley wrote these lyrics during a serious internal crisis in Jamaica. He does not fail to mention it in his words: “Hear the children cry. “ In this case, it is not necessarily only the children who are affected by these conflicts. His idea was that only innocent people suffer through no fault of their own. Marley’s resolve to end these conflicts? He places unity among people in an equal position by praying and praising God. The latter will achieve peace in you and the former will achieve peace in the world.

In the second verse from “One Love / People Get Ready,” Bob Marley questions the actions of the world’s sinners. Although Bob Marley relies on the love of God as a means of salvation, is there a way out for “desperate sinners” as well? Notice the pronoun “hopeless” to say that there are sinners who can be forgiven and then there are sinners who are beyond salvation. These lyrics were interpolated from the song “People Get Ready” by Impressions.

Watch the official music video for “One Love”

In the third verse, Bob Marley talks about the beginning and the end of the world, in biblical terms. We can assume that there was peace and unity among the people when God created this world. Marley wishes that would be the case until the end of time. It also joins the fourth and last line of the song. “So when Man comes, there will be no misfortune” is a reference to the “day of judgment,” when the world will be burnt to ashes with its sinners and the worthy will be taken into your heavenly kingdom. Marley wishes that if everyone lived in peace and quiet, there would be no need to go to Heaven! We could instead make Heaven on Earth itself, and we wouldn’t have to die to be in Heaven!

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