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Posted: 2008 06-23


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Jimmy Cliff joins the cast of 'The Harder They Come' on stage at The Playhouse Theatre, London (June 2008).

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
The Harder They Come on Wikipedia
"The Harder They Come"
Single by Jimmy Cliff
from the album The Harder They Come
B-side"Many Rivers to Cross"
Format7" vinyl
Writer(s)Jimmy Cliff
Producer(s)Jimmy Cliff

"The Harder They Come" is a reggae song by the Jamaican singer Jimmy Cliff. It was first recorded for the soundtrack of the 1972 movie of the same name, in which it is supposed to have been written by the film's main character, Ivanhoe Martin.

"The Harder They Come" has been covered by many artists and was ranked #350 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[1]

The song is the entrance music for heavyweight boxer Samuel Peter and was played live by Jimmy Cliff on an episode of The Colbert Report.


  • 1 Joe Jackson version
    • 1.1 Track listing
    • 1.2 Chart performance
  • 2 Rockers Revenge version
    • 2.1 Chart performance
  • 3 Madness version
    • 3.1 Track listing
    • 3.2 Chart performance
  • 4 Other cover versions
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Joe Jackson version

"The Harder They Come"
Joe Jackson Band The Harder They Come cover.jpg
Single by Joe Jackson Band
B-side"Out of Style"
ReleasedJune 1980
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
GenreReggae, rock
Writer(s)Jimmy Cliff
Producer(s)Joe Jackson
Joe Jackson Band singles chronology

Joe Jackson recorded "The Harder They Come" with his band and released it as a single in 1980. It did not chart in the UK.

Rockers Revenge version

"The Harder They Come"
Rockers Revenge The Harder They Come single cover.jpg
Single by Rockers Revenge featuring Donnie Calvin
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Writer(s)Jimmy Cliff
Producer(s)Arthur Baker

Madness version

"The Harder They Come"
Single by Madness
from the album Madstock!
LabelGo Discs
Writer(s)Jimmy Cliff
Producer(s)Clive Langer
Alan Winstanley
Madness singles chronology

"The Harder They Come" was released as a single by the band Madness in 1992 after a successful reunion concert held at London's Finsbury Park. The single was recorded live at the event along with its B-sides. Although in 1992 Madness had success with reissues of "It Must Be Love" and "My Girl", their version of "The Harder They Come" failed to make the top 40 in the UK Singles Chart; it peaked at #44.[8]

Other cover versions

"The Harder They Come" has also been covered by:

  • Jerry Garcia Band, on After Midnight: Kean College, 2/28/80, released in 2004
  • Merl Saunders / Jerry Garcia / John Kahn / Bill Vitt, on Live at Keystone (1973)
  • Cher, entitled "The Bigger They Come, The Harder They Fall" on Stars (1975)
  • Keith Richards, as the B-side to his single "Run Rudolph Run" (1978)
  • Titãs released a version in Portuguese entitled "Querem Meu Sangue" ("They Want My Blood") on Titãs (1984). Cliff would then perform a medley version with them on live album "Acústico MTV" (1997).
  • Rancid, live on Tibetan Freedom Concert (1997)
  • Kahimi Karie, on K.K.K.K.K. (1998)
  • Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, live on CD single "Coma Girl" (2003)
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, on Warped Tour 2003 Tour Compilation (2003)
  • Wayne Kramer has released two slightly different versions of the song, on the 2000 compilation "Cocaine Blues" and the "Dodge Main" album, with Deniz Tek and Scott Morgan
  • moe., on Warts and All: Volume 4 (2005)
  • Willie Nelson, on Countryman (2005)
  • Pat MacDonald, on Bridging the Distance: a Portland, OR covers compilation (2007)
  • Guster, on the Everwood soundtrack


  1. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  2. ^ " - Joe Jackson Band - The Harder They Come (in Dutch)". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40, week 34, 1980 (in Dutch)". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  4. ^ " - Joe Jackson Band - The Harder They Come". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "allmusic ((( Rockers Revenge > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Retrieved 6 June 2009 (2009-06-06).  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  6. ^ " search results". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  7. ^ "Chart Stats - Rocker's Revenge Featuring Donnie Calvin - The Harder They Come". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  8. ^ "Chart Stats - Madness - The Harder They Come". Retrieved 6 June 2009. 
  9. ^ Madness at Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 June 2013

External links

  • Review of "The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff at Allmusic

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