The Harder They Come is the soundtrack album to the film of the same name, released in 1972 in the United Kingdom. It was issued in February 1973 in North America and peaked at # 140 on the Billboard 200. The heart of the soundtrack comes from performances by the film's star, reggae singer Jimmy Cliff who was one of five performers (ABBA, Genesis, The Hollies & The Stooges) inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. The soundtrack album played a major role in popularizing reggae in the United States and the world beyond.
Only the title track "The Harder They Come" was recorded by Cliff specifically for the soundtrack, with three earlier songs by Cliff added including "You Can get It If You Really Want It". The remainder of the album is a compilation of singles released in Jamaica from the period of 1967 through 1972, assembled by The Harder They Come director and co-writer, Perry Henzell, from songs by favored reggae singers including The Melodians, The Slickers, DJ Scotty as well as seminal early reggae stars Desmond Dekker, "007 (Shanty Town)", and Toots and the Maytals, "Pressure Drop".
In 2003, the album was ranked number 119 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time (not too shabby for an album that peaked at # 140 on the Billboard 200). The album also appears on greatest albums lists from Time and was named the 97th best album of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media.
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