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Album: The Harder They ComeReleased: 1972
Jimmy Cliff wrote this in 1969. After years of poorly paid tours of Europe, he remembered crossing the English Channel to Dover in a despondent mood, wondering what more he had to do to gain acceptance. When Jamaican filmmaker Percy Henzell heard this song, he offered Cliff the lead in his film The Harder They Come. Cliff's acting and soundtrack to the film made him one of the first international Reggae superstars.
Though Jimmy Cliff's version never hit the singles charts, a cover by UK reggae group UB40 reached #16 in the UK in 1983 and one by Cher reached #37 in the UK in 1993.
In 2008 this song reached the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time ever when a performance by Annie Lennox on Idol Gives Back propelled this song into the chart. It was Lennox's first entry in the Hot 100 for nearly 13 years.