"Stir It Up" is a song composed by Bob Marley in 1967, written for his wife Rita, and first made popular by Johnny Nash. Nash's recording hit the top 15 in both Britain and America in 1973.
When Bob Marley returned to Jamaica from the United States in 1967, The Wailers started their own label, ‘Wail'n Soul'm’ records, and released their first independent single "Freedom Time" backed with "Bend Down Low." "Nice Time," "Hypocrites," "Mellow Mood," "Thank You Lord," and "Stir It Up" are all recorded in the same year.
The label folded shortly after and Marley began writing for American singer Johnny Nash. On Nash's I Can See Clearly Now album, he used members of The Wailers and recorded several Marley songs: "Stir It Up," the follow-up single, "Comma Comma," "Guava jelly," and the Nash / Marley co-written ballad, "You Poured Sugar on Me." The track "(It Was) So Nice While It Lasted" received radio play.
The Nash vinyl, 45 version of the song has appeared in CD format only once - TimeLife's "Sound of the Seventies: 1973 Take Two" CD. It includes several audio tracks that are not on the album version (e.g. the prominent vibraslap percussion), and some recorded at different levels, brass and strings in particular, which give the song a more recognizable sound, as it was this version that received radio play during the time the song was a hit, and not the album version. This was the version to receive radio play until the CD version was released. Other mixes eventually made it to vinyl 45 pressings, but thus far the original 45 mix still has not been released in an official digital version, other than the TimeLife CD.
In 2009, The Fratellis covered the song for the compilation Island 50: 50 Years of Island Records.
In 2009, the song was used by K'naan and J. Period in their mixtape "The Messengers", which tributed Bob Marley. The version is called Fatima / Stir it up
Live cover performances
Bob Marley's eldest children "Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers" have performed the song at several concerts. Their live version of the song appears on the concert DVD "Marley Magic: Live In Central Park At Summerstage" and "Live Vol. 1".
The song was covered by The Jerry Garcia Band during several live performances, usually as a long jam with no lyrics.
O.A.R. has covered the song, almost always following the song "Night Shift."
Slightly Stoopid has made a cover of "Stir It Up" and they often play it during live performances.