Bob Marley released the original drum machine-driven No Woman, No Cry on his 1974 Natty Dread album. The following year Marley's stunning performance of the song at London's Lyceum Ballroom was captured for his Live album - this recording of the song became Marley's breakthrough pop hit. The deep and relaxed live version of the song was twice the length of the original 3 minute 46 second long studio version. Outside of Jamaica the song's title is often misunderstood. It doesn't mean the absence of a woman means there is no reason to cry, rather it is telling a struggling woman "no, don't cry." The song reflects on Marley's struggles and hardships growing up in the Trenchtown ghetto. "The Government Yard in Trenchtown" refers to the common area between the housing structures where people would gather. "We Had hard times but there was love and friendship and hope. Some of us were lost, they are remembered. Some survived and thrived. It's a glorious celebration of life in the face of hardship. Don't cry, we must live on." An apparent example of the song's sentiment was a hometown hero of Bob Marley's - Vincent Ford. In the area just around the Government Yard, Ford ran a soup kitchen, providing many, including Marley himself, with free meals. Ford was a paraplegic who lost his legs when he was young due to untreated diabetes. Marley credited several of his songs to Vincent Ford - the publishing royalties from the songs repayed him for his generousity, and enabled him keep feeding people. No Woman, No Cry, one of Marley's biggest hits, is one of the song's Marley credited to Vincent Ford.
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