Rihanna covers 'Redemption Song' for Haiti on 'Oprah'

Rihanna stopped by this afternoon’s episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was devoted to the disaster in Haiti, to perform a cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” You can download her live cover now from the iTunes Music Store for $1.29, with proceeds going to the Hope for Haiti Now telethon that she and others will participate in this Friday. So how was it?

Not bad. Rihanna stayed true to the feel of Marley’s original at first, taking the song as an acoustic dirge with a mournful organ part. By the time she got to the second verse (“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery”), though, she had shifted the tempo and arrangement in a more upbeat direction, where they stayed through the song’s conclusion — making “Redemption Song” into a Rihanna tune, in other words. As for Rihanna’s singing, she’s never had the strongest live voice, and her limitations showed here at times. But given the somber context, it felt appropriate for her voice to crack slightly.

Did you watch Rihanna on Oprah? What did you think of her “Redemption Song”? Download it from iTunes, then let us know.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Comments (15 total) Add your comment
  • dan

    kudos to the thought behind her singing it but the cover of it actually sucked…sorry..

  • confidential

    She did this song at the Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay Jamaica a few years back and sounded HORRIBLE. I have no idea why she would release this song but it is for charity and I am a Haitian so its appriciated. I also think this didn’t make on to any of her albums for a reason.

  • AMJ

    They should have thought about the rest of the wrold with this link…I don’t live in the US and I can’t even listen to a sample of it to see if I would be interested in downloading it….

  • Ashley

    Rihanna’s version of it is mediocre. Chris Cornell is the only arist who has covered the original with justice.

  • greg

    yeah … that right Oprah … get the new role model for young girls to sing on your show … yeah !!! you go riri ….

    Now when EXACTLY can we see all those young impressionable girls in Oprah’s girl school in S.Africa copying Riri (the role model) – with little or no clothes .. getting groped in public … wow Oprah you do set the bar quite high … I aint letting my kids watch your shows henceforth who knows what crap you will bring up next and glorify them … What was wrong with inviting a singer or person who actually “inspires” people instead of this role model for skank hoes … i thought Opera had some values and standards oh well …

    • vava

      greg ur a loser

  • Jen

    If you want relief for your ears–donate to Red Cross and download Bob Marley! lol

    Rihanna is gross to me. The back of her CD cover with nothing but her panties and a cigarette told me all i need to know about this no-talent. It would be different if she were original or could actually SING.

  • Tod

    greg gets off on Oprah’s case. She has to interview thousands of people. They can’t all be good role models. I think her show is excellent.

  • t

    Maxwell performed “Fistful of Tears” as well, at the end of the show. You want real singing by a real artist? Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVcBrASzpeE

  • Vajra

    Her cover was awesome, came from the heart, wasn’t as good as when she covered it at Jamaica though.

  • jazmina

    that is sooo nice what rihanna did. i donated 100 dollars to haite out of my own bank and im only 13



  • Michelle

    Thank goodness it was for a good cause but this was just awful. Bob Marley’s material should not be touched if you can’t perform it properly. Just awful!!!

  • fancypants

    don’t listen to this garbage version of “Redemption Song”. listen to the Marley original or the brilliant cover by Stevie Wonder.

  • marie mitchell

    Rihanna is from the Caribbean, and anyone who isn’t ignorant or stupid knows that the Caribbean is warm, we wear as little as possible. We caribbeans are confident and comfortable about our bodies and don’t see it as degrading and deploring or sorbid as north americans do. You can be sexy without being filthy…Please try to view people with a broader scope it would help to allevia your xenophobic ways…

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