Rivers of Babylon Boney M
Song Title: Rivers of Babylon
Artist: Boney M
Date of release: 3 April 1978, 14 April 1978 (UK)
Description: ” Rivers of Babylon ” is by Boney M, the 1970’s disco group. The song was originally written by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton for The Melodians.
The song was first made famous by the reggae group from Jamaica in 1970, The Melodians original was adapted from Psalms 19 and 137 in the Bible.
Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton originally based ” Rivers of Babylon ” on Psalm 137:1-4, which is essentially expressing grief after the Jewish people were exiled when Babylonians conquered and destroyed the Holy city of Jerusalem in 586 BCE.
The song is one of a very few that actually uses the text from the Bible, another group to use such religious lyrics was U2’s ” 40 (How Long) ” which features on their 1983 Album ” War “.
Boney M made a cover of the song in 1978 by giving the original ” Rivers of Babylon ” a disco makeover, producer Frank Farian ( Franz Reuther ) needed a front group to perform the song.
Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams, Marcia Barrett, and Bobby Farrell became Boney M and fronted the song when performing publicly.
With the studio recordings Frank Farian used his vocals for the male parts of the song, later it became known that Bobby Farrell never set foot in the studio.
Later in an interview with the German teen magazine Bravo, Frank Farian stated that Maizie Williams also didn’t sing on the recordings, he commented ” since her voice wasn’t suited for this kind of music “.
Although the group wasn’t quite as it seemed, it didn’t stop the song becoming a hugely successful single. 1978 was to be the most successful year for Boney M and the single ” Rivers of Babylon “.
The song went on to be a huge international hit, in Austria Boney M took the song straight into the top of the Ö3 Austria Top 40 chart, there the song spent a total of 4 weeks at the top and a total of 28 weeks on the chart.
In Germany the song reached a peak of number one on The GfK Entertainment Charts, spending a total of 37 weeks on the chart.
” Rivers of Babylon ” also went to number one in Belgium, France, Ireland and The Netherlands, however Boney M only managed to reach number 11 on the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI) in Italy.
In the United Kingdom, Boney M enjoyed huge success. There the song was number one for 5 weeks and stayed in the top ten for 19 weeks, the song spent a total of 40 weeks on the UK chart.
Outside of Europe the song reached number 1 in Australia and New Zealand with a number 24 on the Canada Top Singles Chart.
In the United States ” Rivers of Babylon ” was the groups only hit, there the song reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 30
UK Highest Chart Position: 1
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 1, Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 1, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 1, Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders) 1, Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM) 9, Canada Top Singles (RPM) 24, Europe (Eurochart Hot 100) 1, France (IFOP) 1, Germany (Official German Charts) 1, Ireland (IRMA) 1, Italy (FIMI) 11, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 1, Netherlands (Single Top 100) 1, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 1, Norway (VG-lista) 1, South Africa (Springbok Radio) 1, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 1, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 1
Official Website: Frankfarian.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/BoneyM.de
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/BoneyM