“The Harder They Come” Original Soundtrack Recording

Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the soundtrack to the film, The Harder they Come.

The Harder They Come could almost be considered a Jimmy Cliff album. In fact, Cliff, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, has his name featured prominently on the cover.  Officially however, this album is considered a soundtrack to the film with the same name.

Jimmy Cliff in “The Harder They Come”

Other artists that appear on the album include Desmond Dekker (He of ‘Israelites’ fame), The Maytals, The Slickers and Scotty.

The film and soundtrack have long been considered classics. Forty years later, the film is still the number one movie produced in Jamaica by Jamaicans.

The Harder They Come went a long way in pulling Reggae music into the mainstream. Even if it was much more than just a reggae album. Being a classic we felt it was worthy of being featured for our milestone, 300th entry.

There are some great recordings here as well. Jimmy Cliff provides the title track along with “You Can Get It if Really Want” and a spectacular, “Many Rivers to Cross.”  The Maytals provide the hit “Pressure Drop.”  Yup, the same song that Robert Palmer covered and the Clash reinvented.

The Harder They Come Peaked at #140 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

–Larry Carta 

Track listing

Side one

  1. “You Can Get It If You Really Want” (Jimmy Cliff) – 2:40 performed by Jimmy Cliff
  2. “Draw Your Brakes” (Derrick Harriott, Texas Dixon, Keith Rowe) – 2:57 performed by Scotty
  3. “Rivers of Babylon” (Brent Dowe, James McNaughton, Frank Farian, George Reyam) – 4:16 performed by The Melodians
  4. “Many Rivers to Cross” (Cliff) – 3:02 performed by Jimmy Cliff
  5. “Sweet and Dandy” (Frederick Hibbert) – 3:01 performed by The Maytals
  6. “The Harder They Come” (Cliff) – 3:41 performed by Jimmy Cliff

Side two

  1. “Johnny Too Bad” (Trevor Wilson, Winston Bailey, Hylton Beckford, Derrick Crooks) – 3:04 performed by The Slickers
  2. “007 (Shanty Town)” (Desmond Dekker) – 2:43 performed by Desmond Dekker
  3. “Pressure Drop” (Hibbert) – 3:44 performed by The Maytals
  4. “Sitting in Limbo” (Jimmy Cliff, Guillermo Bright-Plummer) – 4:57 performed by Jimmy Cliff
  5. “You Can Get It If You Really Want” – 2:43 (Cliff) performed by Jimmy Cliff
  6. “The Harder They Come” (Cliff) – 3:07 performed by Jimmy Cliff


  • Jimmy Cliff – vocals
  • Desmond Dekker – vocals
  • The Maytals – vocals
  • The Melodians – vocals
  • Scotty – vocals
  • The Slickers – vocals
  • Jackie Jackson – bass
  • Winston Grennan – drums
  • Beverley’s All-Stars – instruments


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Posted by Larry Carta

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