The Jamaican rhythm of ska had already generated hits in the United States, notably Millie Small's 1964 hit, "My Boy Lollipop." But that song was treated as a novelty. "The Israelites," with its biblical imagery of suffering and redemption, showed the world reggae's combination of danceable rhythm and serious, sometimes spiritual intentions.Yes, I remember loving that hit and experiencing it as a novelty song (though that doesn't mean that we American kids didn't pick up the spirit of suffering and redemption). Another seeming novelty song that we heard and loved that same summer was "In the Year 2525."
In the year 7510I remember listening to "The Israelites" and "In the Year 2525" -- both were played on the radio constantly -- and feeling really strange in that really strange year 1969. Two infectiously poppy songs with a painful, religious edge.
if God's a-comin' he ought to make it by then
maybe he'll look around himself and say
"guess it's time for the Judgement Day''
In the year 8510
God is gonna shake his mighty head
he'll either say "I'm pleased where man has been''
or tear it down and start again...
Did you know that Paul McCartney named his "Ob-Bla-Di, Ob-Bla-Da" character "Desmond" after Desmond Dekker?
Desmond has a barrow in the market place...
Molly is the singer in a band...
Desmond says to Molly "girl I like your face"
And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand...