1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Meadowlands – Archie Coker & The Meteors

Meadowlands – Archie Coker & The Meteors (When two worlds collide)

The Meteors

The Meteors

There was once a white man who sang like a black man and this made him famous. That was Elvis Presley, but in South Africa in 1962 a white man Archie Coker along with his Meteors took a song and sang like a black man. This has made him somewhat infamous, but, only Archie will know if he was exploiting the song written by Strike Vilakazi for commercial gain and cashing in on the misery of thousands, or if he was adding his voice to the protest that the song grew from.

EP: Meadowlands RAVE REP 48

Meadowlands EP

Meadowlands was a suburb of the newly formed Soweto township and was where those forcefully removed from Sophiatown were relocated to in 1956. The basic message of the song was that the whites are telling us to go to Meadowlands, but we’re not going. Unfortunately history tells a different story.

There are many versions of ‘Meadowlands’ around, including Strike Vilakazi’s original, but I chose this version as it mixes the kwela sound of the townships with the 60’s beat group twanging guitar, creating an interesting fusion of sounds that (politically feelings aside) could have been enjoyed by both sides of the apartheid fence.

Where to find it:

I have not been able to find this on CD, so I guess you’re trawling the second hand vinyl shops again.
Cover versions:

There are numerous cover versions of this song some of which are available to download at Rhythm Music Store including versions by Ratau Mike Makhalemele, The Gugulethu Tenors and Boerequanga.
Lyrics:

Otla utlwa makgowa arei
Are yeng ko Meadowlands
Meadowland Meadowlands
Meadowlands sithando sam
Otlwa utlwa botsotsi bare
Ons dak ni ons pola hier
Pola hier pola hier
Pola hier sithando sam

Translation:

You’ll hear the whites say
Let’s move to Meadowlands
Meadowlands Meadowlands
Meadowlands, my love
You’ll hear the tsotsis say
We’re not moving, we’re staying here
Stay here, stay here
Stay here, my love

(written by Strike Vilakazi)

Video:

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15 thoughts on “Meadowlands – Archie Coker & The Meteors

  1. Glen Coker on said:

    I have an original copy in a frame. I am Archie Coker’s eldest son, Glen. I received the single as a gift from Arnie from “Fat Arnie’s Pub” in Midrand

    • Hi Glen

      Thanks for the comment. I wasn’t born when you father recorded this song, but I’m glad i got to hear it.

      John

    • Patricia on said:

      Hi Glen, I am trying to find anything on The Meteors. Frikkie Kruger who played guitar was my husband’s uncle and the family have little or none of his music or history other than memories. My father-in-law is 76 and the family on this side would be over the moon if I could find any records or recordings or history featuring Frikkie and the groups he performed in. Any chance of helping out or putting me on the right tracksplease

      • Hi Patricia
        The only information I can find on Frikke was that he was the lead vocalist in a band called The Gladiators. I will try and find out more for you.
        John

      • Muller on said:

        hi Patrica
        Hi
        My name is Bill,I played with the Meteors and with Frikkie, Buddy de Bruyn,
        and my brother Glen, my father managed the band.
        we played for many years together I still have our recordings and great memories
        and times we spent together. so if you contact maybe I can spend some time
        with you and playing these old records.

        regards
        Bill Muller

  2. Owen Brett on said:

    I have always been crazy about this song. i am now excited to at last have found a translation.

  3. Yolandi Ferreira on said:

    Hi, I started going through old records from my parents’ and grandparenttime younger years and came across a copy (RAVE) of S Vilakazi’s Meadowlands by A Coker and The Meteors. I’d like to know if it’s a rare find or are there many copies like mine out there.. Does anyone know? Kind regards, Yolandi – 0833793357

  4. Sonny Naidoo on said:

    ISs it possible to get the full lyrics of this song?

  5. Sonny Naidoo on said:

    An absolute gem of a township song. Always hummed this song.

  6. Thomas Sellnau on said:

    My name is Thomas Sellnau and before returning to Germany and study mining and working worlswilde I was in GMTS near Randfontein. We went to mac/snacks in Krugersdorp and
    heard Archie and his band and me became a fan ever since.
    A remarkable recording in Zulu performed by a white band during apartheid,…and surprising loved by the Poor White or the Try for White.
    This young englich speaking teenager was far ahead of his time……

    • Mike…This song is a unique slice of our South African heritage and I am glad to be able to say this to his son.I grew up with this song. I believe that people complained about the loud rehearsals of the Meteors and this went to court.I recall that the magistrate asked the group to perform in court and subsequently dismissed the case. Urban legend ? Don’t think so. Can someone confirm…
      Play with 3 chords D….G….A.

      • Muller on said:

        Hi
        it’s not an urban legend, this really happended I might have the news paper clipping from the star news paper
        i was the drummer and played with Frikkie ane Archey Coker
        If any one want’s to knowthe history of the Metors I will gladly oblige with some wonderful days of rock sessions
        regards
        Bill

    • Muller on said:

      patrica do you want to know about frikkie kruger
      call bill

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