Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Charity Singles of the 1980's Part 2 - We Are The World

With the news that this song is being recorded by such superstars like...Julianne Hough!!!...Jamie Foxx!!!...and Will.I.Am!!!, I need to revisit this post I did a year and a half ago. This new song is going to be sacrilegious!

The song "We Are The World" has an interesting history. The song was the United States part in the battle against hunger. The UK's part was the Christmas ditty "Do They Know Its Christmas Time?". They always say that the Brit's do it better and all you need to know is how often do they play "We Are The World" on the radio anymore while "Do They Know..." is played ad nasuem during EVERY single holiday season.

Written by Michael Jackson, "We Are The World" a pretty simple song but set up where a different person would sing alone or duet on almost every single line. This is probably the greatest collection of musical artists ever assembled in one room. If there was a major explosion and all of these artists were trapped inside, the music industry would have never recovered...Prince, Madonna, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, and Murray Head would have still been around so maybe I'm wrong here.

Here's the video with the typical play by play. Again, this is a great drinking game trying to guess which artists is least if you were drinking with me it is!

1.) 0:24 seconds - How much do you think that signed poster would be worth today? Its got to be at least $100,000. You have legends like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon and Diana Ross, plus awesomely great second fiddles like Cyndi Lauper, Al Jarreau, and the rest of the News (from Huey Lewis and the News).

2.) :50-1:01 - I'm sorry but I have an odd attraction to Kenny Rogers voice. Not only does he do one of the greatest terrible ballads of all time, "Lady", but his is one of the few voices that sounds unlike any of the others on this song. I love how his face spasms out around the 51-52 second mark. He also DOMINATES his "we can't go on..." line and is one of the few people humble enough to wear the goofy "USA For Africa" sweatshirt. My visor is off to you, The Gambler.

3.) 1:09-1:20 An odd coupling here...Tina Turner and Billy Joel. This is the only time I've ever seen Billy Joel with a full beard.

4.) 1:21-1:33 Notice how only MJ gets the camera to pan up his body starting with those sparkling socks. I guess since he wrote the song, he gets to be the first to sing the major hook but still...even in 1985 you can start to see the wheels slowly coming off....hmmm.

5.) 1:51-2:14 Onto the second verse and its Mrs. Psychic Network herself Dionne Warwick. She basically took this song and turned it into her own in the semi-classic "That's What Friends Are For". I also love Willie Nelson's line here. To this day, I can't fully understand what he's trying to say. "Mmmm-blaahhhh da children..."

6.) 2:16- Here's Bruce! The camera gets a little too close to his face but he responds by making awesome "singer faces". Even better is Kenny Loggins trying to follow up Bruce's line with his whiny voice. That's like trying to follow making out with Blair from "The Facts Of Live" and then having to 69 Natalie from the same show.

7.) 2:30 - 2:42 - Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the GREATEST voice in all of rock...Mr. Steve Perry. He makes this line his own and his voice is just dripping with emotion. Having Darryl Hall follow him is almost insulting here.

8.) 2:43- 3:10 - Perhaps the most random 4 voices you'll hear in a matter of a few seconds. First you get MJ again, but now he's mysteriously wearing sunglasses. Then you get Huey Lewis in full throaty rasping goodness and he scores major points for those fist pumps. Then you get Cyndi Lauper doing her Cyndi Lauper over the top thing. After that, you get Kim "Bette Davis Eyes" Carnes trying to keep up and then all three of them come together in blissful harmony with Cyndi Lauper going nuts.

9.) 3:37 - Hey its John Oates!

10.) 3:46 - And Latoya Jackson!

11.) 4:24 - And Dan Akyroid! What a second...WTF is he doing here?

12.) 4:47 - 4:57 - Good ol' Ray Charles...though I can't here a single note being played on the piano, I'm sure he feels more comfortable in his natural element here than standing with the rest of the artists. You'll see him later on just sort of standing there too.

13.) 4:57 - 5:48 Talk about two different voices. One is one of the most smooth voices you'll ever here in Stevie Wonder....the other sounds like someone is pissing out razor blades in Bruce Springsteen. I like how they split screen them for a bit, then they fool you into thinking that Stevie will finish up the part up, then they bring Bruce back split screen AGAIN. Then they leave Bruce alone for a bit, and then Stevie comes back screaming his last part. Gotta love that they're both into the song though.

14.) 5:55 - Yikes, its a mohawk wearing Bette Midler.

15.) 5:57 - Harry Belafonte! He did the song "Daaaaayyy-OH, Daaaaayyyy-OH. Daylight come and I wanna go home".

16.) 6:09 - One of my top three all time guitar players...Mr. Lindsey Buckingham.

17.) 6:18-6:28 - This is James Ingram who did some pretty decent songs like "Just Once", "I Don't Have The Heart" and "Somewhere Out There". He's best known to me as the "other guy" in the Michael McDonald duet song "Yah Mo We Bah".

And that's pretty much it...this song was more of a hit at the time than "Do They Know Its Christmas Time" at the time but the latter wins out because its a holiday staple (plus a lot shorter).

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