Jamaican reggae musicians The Melodians (Brent Dowe, Tony Brevett and Trevor McNaughton) recorded and issued the biblically based "The Rivers of Babylon" (Brent Dowe - Trevor McNaughton) in 1970. According to Wikipedia: Brent Dowe, the lead singer of the Melodians, said that he had adapted Psalm 137 to the new reggae style because he wanted to increase the public's consciousness of the growing Rastafarian movement and its calls for black liberation and social justice. Like the Afro-Protestant Revival services, traditional Rastafarian worship often included psalm singing and hymn singing, and Rastas typically modified the words to fit their own spiritual conceptions; Psalm 137 was among their sacred chants. Two years later it was used on the soundtrack of the movie "The Harder They Come" and gained acceptance.

Boney M (Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Mazie Williams and Bobby Farrell) took the tune to European platinum in 1978 and hit the top thirty on Billboard. "The Rivers of Babylon" (Brent Dowe - Trevor McNaughton - Farian - Ryan) is from the album "Nightflight to Venus". Boney M was the studio invention of German singer, songwriter Frank Farian (Franz Reuther).