Song: Three Little Birds
Song performed by: Bob Marley & the Wailers
Album: Exodus (also included on Legend)
When I was a kid, maybe 8 years old, I really liked the song “Matthew” by John Denver. It’s a good song, somewhat melodramatic, but I mostly liked it because my name is Matthew. I don’t remember how it got started, but I recall for a few weeks my dad and I used to sit on the couch in our living room, put the song on the stereo, and sing the song together. It wasn’t really a planned bonding moment, it was just one of those random things kids and parents do together and then kind of move on to something else. It’s one of my most cherished childhood memories, and one of the earliest concrete memories I have where music is the focal point.
Flash forward to a few months ago, and I’m burning a CD for my own kids to listen to in the car. I put Three Little Birds on there just for the heck of it – they know the song a bit because it’s featured in a Nick Jr. short animation. We go for a drive to the store. The song comes on. I start singing along: “Don’t worry about a thing…’cause every little thing’s gonna be alright”. Slowly, tentatively, so do my kids. I sing a little louder. They follow suit. Soon we are all singing full voice together. The song ends and we all laugh. I am so full of joy I can’t stand it.
Wikipedia and other sources tell us that the origin of Three Little Birds is disputed. Some say it was written about some of Marley’s backup singers; others say it was about actual birds that fluttered around Marley’s back door. The true story matters little. What matters is the feeling. Others have written about uplift, or elevation (here and here)…I believe this song is the perfect embodiment of this emotion. It is pure inspiration, pure hope and love. This is one of those songs that has the power to lift the soul. In many ways Three Little Birds is a symbol of the things that Bob Marley stood for, and Marley is also a symbol of what Three Little Birds stands for.
Three Little Birds is now a standard in our house. I sing it to the girls at bedtime (along with Little Wing and Blackbird and Summertime). The song is now an indelible piece of my memories, and hopefully my kids’ too.
Three Little Birds Links