EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘Israelites’ – Desmond Dekker & The Aces

What was the number one song in the UK on 16th April 1969?

Jamaican singer-songwriter, Desmond Dekker hit the top spot for 1 week with Israelites.

Israelites was the first reggae number one song in the UK. It’s a timeless, classic that sings about working hard to put food on the table and not wanting to turn to a life of crime to earn a decent living. Dekker sings with his strong Jamaican accent, which (for some) made the lyrics hard to understand. This was reflected on in the classic 80s advert for Maxwell Tape (me ears are alight). Anyway, it’s an absolutely excellent, stonking, solid tune and I love it.

Lyrics

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelites, ah
Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelite
My wife and my kids, they packed up and leave me
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen
Poor me Israelites
Shirt them a-tear up, trousers is gone
I don’t want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
Poor me Israelites
After a storm there must be a calm
They catch me in the farm
You sound your alarm
Poor me Israelites
I said I get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelites
I said my wife and my kids, they are packed up and leave me
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen
Poor me Israelites
Look me shirts them a-tear up, trousers are gone
I don’t want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
Poor me Israelites
After a storm there must be a calm
They catch me in the farm
You sound your alarm
Poor me Israelites
Poor me Israelites, poor me Israelites, poor me Israelites

The Playlist

Relive, enjoy and share every song and keep following Talk About Pop Music for more Number One posts!


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