1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World – Johnny Clegg & Savuka

Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World – Johnny Clegg & Savuka (Song Son Blue (skies))

Cruel Crazy Beautiful World - Savuka (1989)

Cruel Crazy Beautiful World - Savuka (1989)

When Steve Irwin dangled his young child in front of a crocodile there was a huge outcry. When Johnny Clegg sang to his son Jesse that he has to ‘wash with the crocodiles in the river’ no one seemed to care. Well, they did care about the songs, but no one took the lyrics literally.

Despite the lack of protest, this song to his son made a few international charts, peaking at number 86 in the UK, number 25 in Sweden and number 5 in Switzerland. It also helped to propel the album of which it was the title track to number 123 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in the US.

The song is pumped full of feel good vibes which reflects the message that despite the cruelty and craziness of the world we live in, there is still beauty. Maybe Johnny was overdosing on the joy of fatherhood when he wrote this, but his joy is infectious.

Where to find it:

Cruel Crazy Beautiful World – Savuka (1989), EMI, CDP 7934462

Lyrics:

You have to wash with the crocodile in the river
You have to swim with the sharks in the sea
You have to live with the crooked politician
Trust those things that you can never see
Ayeye ayeye jesse mfana (jesse boy) ayeye ayeye

Chorus:
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
Every time you wake up I hope it’s under a blue sky
It’s a cruel crazy beautiful world
One day when you wake up I will have to say goodbye
Goodbye — it’s your world so live in it!

Beyond the door, strange cruel beautiful years lie waiting for you
It kills me to know you won’t escape loneliness,
Maybe you lose hope too

Ayeye ayeye jesse mfana ayeye ayeye

Chorus

When I feel your small body close to mine
I feel weak and strong at the same time
So few years to give you wings to fly
Show you the stars to guide your ship by

Chorus

It’s your world so live in it

Video:

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One thought on “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World – Johnny Clegg & Savuka

  1. Ian MacFarlane on said:

    The year was 1990 – and the album reflected a celebration of the fall of the regime (This is Jerrico) but with subtle warnings of future possiblities (Cruel Crazy Beautiful World & Warsaw). It was a fantastic project featuring some of my most favourite musicians like Alex Acuna (percussion) and Keith Hutchinson (Keyboards and Sax ). So many other good tracks like Dela (I know why the dog howls at the moon) and Woman Be My Country.

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