Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boney M and the Bible

Boney M  BBC Top 10

Disco music has rarely been as powerful and memorable as it was with Boney M.

Their performance at Sopot 1979 Festival brings back the unforgettable beats, tunes and arrangements that are even today, 40 years later, immediately recognisable as "Boney M". The three beautiful ladies together with a skilful male dancer with his sexy voice made a brilliant contrast that has remained a Boney M hallmark ever since.

However, Boney M was not an immediate success. It was created in 1975 by German record producer Frank Farian but their first album Take the Heat Off Me was published the following year with lukewarm reception.

Things began to heat up with the 1976 hits Daddy Cool and Sunny. Once you hear them they do linger in your ears whether you want it or not! Similarly penetrating and memorable were the 1977 hits Ma Baker and Belfast.

By the rivers of Babylon
Show business and entertainment such as popular music aimed at the young disco generation may be very far from religion and the Bible. Some rockers are inspired by the opposite dark forces and show it in their music and attitudes. Instead, Boney M got their greatest hits and reached near the coveted 2 million sales (5000 short) with a "white" song with good words taken directly from the Bible

By the Rivers of Babylon (youTube)
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion... They carried us away in captivity requiring of us a song... Now how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
Psalm 137:1-4
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight...
Psalm 19:14
By the Rivers of Babylon stayed at the number one position in the UK for five weeks and sold over 1,985,000 copies and is one of the top ten all-time best-selling singles in the UK.

The contents are not necessarily understood in the Biblical Zionist sense by all - there is a genuinely Jamaican rastafanian interpretation where "Babylon" takes the meaning of a tyrant and the words have thus some Ethiopian side tunes, as well. But the words are pure Bible.

The group has had political comments since the famous visit to Soviet Union (please, no Rasputin!) As recently as in 2010 when Maizie Williams visited the Palestinian Culture Festival, organisers asked her not to sing By the Rivers of Babylon (The Telegraph) because of its Zionist content.

Mary's Boy Child - Oh My Lord
Another centrally Biblical theme brought Boney M their second great success - now actually dressed in white! It a Christmas song originally made famous by Harry Belafonte in 1956. Boney M released it in 1978 to their unmistakable beat and with mind penetrating simplicity

Mary's Boy Child - Oh My Lord (youTube)

"The single was recorded in a hurry early November, included in the group's live set and rushed out at the end of the month, topping the UK charts for four weeks during its eight week stay in the charts, and becoming the second single for the group in the all-time best selling singles charts." (wikipedia

This is and has remained a genuine Christmas song with no side interpretations!

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