Music Throwback Saturday: Israelites

Israelites was among the first ska tunes to reach the US top ten.

DesmondDekkerIsraeliteListening to the now out-of-print Island Story 1962-1987, I was reminded of the song Israelites by Desmond Dekker and the Aces, written by Dekker and music producer Leslie Kong.

The lyrics were often misheard. Because of Dekker’s thick Jamaican accent, I didn’t really know what the song was about either.

Fortunately, he explained in 2005:

“I heard a couple arguing about money. She was saying she needed money and he was saying the work he was doing was not giving him enough. I relate to those things and began to sing a little song – ‘You get up in the morning and you slaving for bread.’ By the time I got home, it was complete.”

I assume the song is tied to the Rastafarians and is related to their claim to be a lost tribe of Israel, thus the title.

The single was among the first ska tunes to reach the US top ten. “In June 1969 it peaked at #9 on the [US] Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It hit number one in the United Kingdom [the first ska number to do so], Netherlands, Jamaica, South Africa, Canada, Sweden and West Germany.”

Listen to Israelites HERE or HERE or HERE