"Time Will Tell" as written by and Jimmy Cliff....
Jah would never give the power to a bald head
Run come crucify the Dread

[Chorus:]
Time alone, oh, time will tell
Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell
Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell
Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell
Time alone, oh, time will tell
Ya think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell

Back them up; oh, not the brothers,
But the ones who sets 'em up

[Chorus]

Oh, ma,
Oh, ma,
Oh, ma children are cryin'
Oh, children, weep no more!
Oh, ma sycamore tree, saw the freedom tree
All you, have spoke
Oh, children, weep no more
Weep no more, children, weep no more!

Jah would never give the power to a bald head
Run come crucify the Dread

[Chorus]


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Time Will Tell" as written by Jimmy Cliff

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Time Will Tell song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentthere are definitely lyrics missing from this and every other lyrics webpage for this song. listen to it right before the part "Oh children weep no more, Oh my sycamore tree, saw the freedom tree". the "oh children weep no more" is the end of a stanza right before the sycamore tree part, and he's definitely not just mumbling before that as one site said, can anyone hear it? one line sounds like "…to the ground" to me but the rest is muddled
    rokdrokdon January 25, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about materialism. You may have everything in the world but if you dont posses the key to happiness and salvation (in this case Jah), you may seem happy but time will tell. Also, the line, "Jah would never give the power to a baldheald" refers to the the eventual fall of babylon or western society as we know it. "Back them up, oh not the brothers/ But the ones, who set the up" is a refrence to Jah's interference in stoping the "baldhead" who enslaved or "set them up" from opressing the African race. "Oh children weep no more/Oh my sycamore tree, saw the freedom tree" refers to the freedom that they will be restored when the opression that plagues the African people is lifted with the fall of babylon.
    ajk4on November 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the 'Songs of Freedom' booklet it states this song was written in response to the attempt that was made on his life. Nothing about materialism...maybe looking a bit too deep into it.

    "Back them up, oh not the brothers
    But the ones, who set them up"
    sugErspunon March 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'll have to agree with ajk4 on this one. i think what bob is sayin is that time alone will show how "Babylon" was ultimately an evil influence on Planet Earth...that materialistic thinking will sooner or later become a thing of the past. go ron paul :)
    oldsoul21on January 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is definitely about materialism, and, to me, makes much more sense now that someone has said that it was written after someone tried to kill Bob Marley.
    The first line is saying that power will never go to Babylon/the Western society. The second line I think is a sarcastic threat, almost a challenge, saying yeah, sure come on and kill me or any of us, it won't help. He's trying to tell us that the life Westerners like myself live isn't heaven, like we think, and that sooner or later everything will come crashing down, and eventually will become hell.
    onomatopoeiaon November 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song was written about the Assasination attempt on his life in 76, "Back them up, oh not the brothers,But the ones, who set them up"
    "Thinking your in heaven but your living in hell" he's talking about the political involvement and the guiltiness they should be feeling.

    "Oh children weep no more
    Oh my sycamore tree, saw the freedom tree"

    before the assasins rushed in, Rita was putting her kids in the car when the gunshots burst Rita was hit in the head and the kids where crying, Bob was in the kitchen eating fruit when the gunmen rushed in an opened fire during that moment bob saw the sycamore tree and made a break for it .

    R.I.P. Robert Nesta Marley
    Steppingrazoron December 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionYeah, there's a whole section missing...here and everywhere else. I think it goes like this (at least this is the way I sing it):

    Mm-mm. Mm-mm.
    Saw my kid and my woman,
    thrown onto the ground.
    Saw them take my pride.
    Oh children weep no more.
    Oh my sycamore tree.
    Saw the freedom tree.
    Saw you settle the score.
    Oh, children weep no more.
    Weep no more.
    Children weep no more.

    FWIW, I've heard live versions too where he includes other lyrics like:
    Saw you take my pride.
    Took them for a ride.
    Drove them for a ride.
    Saw Jah settle the score.
    Saw Jah open the door.
    Saw the open tree.
    Saw the open country.
    wheckson July 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI feel like the refrain that goes;
    'Time alone, oh, time will tell
    Think you're in heaven, but ya living in hell'

    probably refers to those people who are content living in Babylon, the metaphorical Babylon that is. In time they'll see their mistake in living in ignorance as subjects of the capitalist system; reaping it's short lived rewards at the expense of other's freedom. Like a lot of his lyrics it's got a possible religious interpretation, but I really get a social political message from it too

    Like he sings in Exodus;
    'Open your eyes and look within:
    Are you satisfied with the life you're living?
    We know where we're going;
    We know where we're from.
    We're leaving Babylon'
    simonjm11on June 19, 2013   Link

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