fripodding and shooting: “i shot the sheriff” bob marley


It’s been a while since iSaac and I sat down to discuss iPicks. But it’s just like riding a bike I suppose. Okay, maybe it’s nothing like that at all…

Today’s friDay friPod iPick is coming from the legend known as Bob Marley. True story, I just started listening to his music a couple months ago. I know, I know… Where have I been the past 30 years or so. Well, I’ve only been alive for 23 of those years, and the first 5-10 years I didn’t have much choice to choose or exposure. But I was definitely aware of him by college years when every other dorm room had a Marley poster.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music the past couple weeks, so it wasn’t exactly easy to just pick one. But I say, why not this one? It’s awesome and I’m listening to it while I’m thinking about it (which was mere hours ago). But it’s also a tune that you don’t mind getting stuck in your head and singing all day (as long as it’s not too loud and off key or else someone would think you actually shot a sheriff). And hey, there are now quite a few Marley songs I like and could’ve picked… but let’s talk about this one.

I love stories. I love songs that tell stories. This song is a story about a man who is being accused for killing the sheriff’s deputy. But no! The man didn’t shoot no deputy. He shot the sheriff. A mean, bad sheriff. Is there a deeper meaning to this song than what I’m listening to? I couldn’t tell you. Personally, I don’t really care. I do know Marley wanted to say “I shot the poilce” but I’m sure he also wanted the song on the radio (don’t forget, it was the 70’s… NWA was in the 90’s).

But I’m loving the imagery I see in my head as Mr. Marley tells this story about this cold yet mild mannered gardener who shot an even colder Sheriff John Brown who hated him for apparently no reason at all, and killed his seeds before they grew. Stomping and killing all his seeds and plantlife before they could really flourish and grow. (Of course, this could also mean anything that this man did, from good deeds to even raising children, the sheriff did not like and put a stop to it.) So one day the mild-mannered man was leaving town when Sheriff Brown rolled up on him wanting to start somethin’ gangsta-ish. And the man was actually leaving town, why not let him go? But nah… had to point a gun at the man who clearly beleives in self preservation and self defense. The man admits, “Yes, I shot him.” He’ll even pay for the crime. Apparently, they don’t want him for that charge. They want to blame him for the deputy.

But I wonder… was the deputy killed before or after this man killed the sheriff? Was that why the sheriff hated him and stomped on his flowers? Or was the sheriff really not the sheriff? Was he really the deputy pretending to be a sheriff? I highly doubt that one, but speculate with me.

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