Desmond Dekker - Israelites


Desmond Dekker - Israelites

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Desmond Dekker & The Aces - Israelites
Single by Desmond Dekker & The Aces
B-side "My Precious World (The Man)" by Beverley's All Stars
Released October 1968
Recorded 1968
Genre Reggae
Length 2:35
Label Pyramid Records - PYR 6058 (UK)
Uni Records 55129 (USA)
Writer Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong
Producer Leslie Kong
Desmond Dekker & The Aces singles chronology
"007 (Shanty Town)"
(1967)
"Israelites"
(1969)
"It Miek"
(1969)

 

  "Israelites" is a song written by Desmond Dekker and Leslie Kong that became a hit for Dekker's group, Desmond Dekker & The Aces, peaking in 1969. Although few could understand all the lyrics, the single was the first UK reggae number one and among the first to reach the US top ten (peaking at 9th). It combined the Rastafarian religion with rude boy concerns, to make what has been described as a "timeless masterpiece that knew no boundaries".

 

Song

The best known Jamaican reggae hit to reach the Hot 100's top 10, it was written almost two years after Dekker first made his mark with the rude boy song, "007 (Shanty Town)". Dekker composed the song after overhearing an argument: "I was walking in the park, eating corn [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." The vocal melody is syncopated and is centred on the tone of B flat. The chords of the guitar accompaniment are played on the offbeat and move through the tonic chord [B flat], the subdominant [E flat], the dominant [F], and the occasional [D flat], viz, [B flat] - [E flat] - [F] - [B flat] - [D flat]. It was one of the first reggae songs to become an international hit, despite Dekker's strong Jamaican accent which made his lyrics difficult to understand for audiences outside.

Despite "Israelites" being recorded and released in 1968, the Uni 45 discography shows its cataloguing in 1969. In June 1969 it reached the Top Ten in the United States, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. It hit number one in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Jamaica, South Africa, Canada, Sweden and West Germany.

"Israelites" brought a Jamaican beat to the British top 40 for the first time since Dekker's number 14 hit "007 (Shanty Town)" in 1967. The disc was released in the UK in March 1969 and was number one for one week, selling over 250,000 copies. A global million sales was reported in June 1969. Dekker had two more UK Top Ten hits over the next year, "It Mek" and his cover of Jimmy Cliff's song, "You Can Get It If You Really Want".

 

 

Desmond Dekker - Israelites / Beverley's All Stars - The Man

UK Pyramid PYR 6058 (1968).

The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

Both record centre labels are free from stains and discolouration.

Browse these categories as well: Reggae / Ska 7" Singles, 1960's 7" Singles