Story of Song
“No woman, don’t cry” is what Bob Marley really means in this classic hit. It’s about Marley’s upbriging, his stories in his hometown (Trench Town), his lyrics are both political and personal, mentioning the “government and the hypocrites which he really hated,” as well as talking to a woman who is crying and telling her not to cry and to forget the past. Marley is reminding the woman of the good memories, and the fact that “everything’s gonna be alright”. The line of the song is “No, Woman, Nuh cry.” Nuh is Jamaican for “don’t,” the meaning of the lyric is No, Woman, don’t cry.
Bob reminisces about the simple pleasures that despite the abject poverty of Trench Town bring back fond memories. Bob also talks about himself being a poor man, he doesn’t have a car or money for a taxi or bus fare (My feet is my only carriage, So I’ve got to push on through…).
Bass player of the Wailers, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, told NME in 2012: “The song is about the strength in the mama of course, strength in the ladies. And we love a woman with a backbone. Something like a wishbone! They have to be like a she lion! Woman strong, you know, not depending on the man. Of course the man is there to help you, then for every successful man, there is a good woman.”
The lyrics to “No Woman, No Cry” can be accessed here.