DESMOND DEKKER – Timeless Hit ‘ISRAELITES’ Topped UK Charts This Day In 1968

Top singles from the past…

16 April 2021

Artist: DESMOND DEKKER (born Desmond Adolphus Dacres in Kingston, Jamaica
16 July 1941 / passed away in Surrey, England, 25 May 2006 – he was 64)

The single was credited to Dekker and his band The Aces.
Written: by Dekker and Leslie Kong
Dekker about the song: “I was walking in the park, eating popcorn. I heard
a couple arguing about money. She was saying she needs money and he was
saying the work he was doing was not giving him enough. I related to those
things and began to sing a little song: ‘You get up in the morning and you’re
slaving for bread.’ By the time I got home, it was complete.”

About the song’s title: The title has been the source of speculation but most
settle on the Rastafarian Movement‘s association with the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
In the 1960s, Jamaican Rastafarians were largely marginalized as “cultish” and
ostracized from the larger society, including by the more conservative Christian
church in Kingston. Destitute
(“slaving for bread“) and unkempt (“Shirt them a-tear
up, trousers is gone”
), some Rastafarians were tempted to a life of crime (“I don’t
want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde”
). The song is a lament of this condition.

Score: #1 in the UK 16 April 1968 – 53 years ago today


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