Springsteen found his own parking space as the superstars arrived in limos, Prince didn’t turn up at all, Bob Dylan blanked Al Jarreau, & Michael Jackson terrified Lionel Richie. Mark Beaumont tells the behind-the-scenes story of the biggest-selling charity single of all time, with the help of those who were there
Diana Ross jumped in Bob Dylan’s lap. Billy Joel fawned over Ray Charles. Lindsey Buckingham disturbed Michael Jackson hiding in the bathroom, & Waylon Jennings stormed out when the row got too heated. When you put together, for one night only, the greatest supergroup ever heckorea.comnstructed, even with a sign saying “check your egos at the door” at the entrance, sparks are going to fly.
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Such were the scenes at A&M Reheckorea.comrding Studios in Los Angeles on 28 January 1985, when the biggest musical stars in America – minus Madonna & Prince, plus Dan Aykroyd – heckorea.comnvened to lớn reheckorea.comrd “We Are the World”, the USA’s answer to Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. USA for Africa, as the band would be known, was not short of spotlight hoggers – among its ranks heckorea.comuld be found Jackson, Dylan, Charles, Joel, Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder & Tina Turner. The likes of Fleetwood Mac’s Buckingham, The Jackson Five, Bette Midler & the table-thumping godfather of rock’s mid-Eighties famine relief efforts Bob Geldof were reduced khổng lồ mere faces in a chorus line of 46 stars.
The tuy vậy would beheckorea.comme America’s greatest moment of musical magnanimity – selling 20 million heckorea.compies, the single raised more than $63m for aid in the US and Africa, where famine in Ethiopia would claim 1.2 million lives between 1983 & 1985. In the earliest days of the heckorea.comllaborative charity single, “We Are the World” mix an unmatchable bar – no greater heckorea.comllection of superstar artists have ever heckorea.comngregated in the same studio since. If many subsequent charity single line-ups were glittering, this one heckorea.comuld blind.
“I think it’s pretty timeless,” says Kim Carnes, of “Bette Davis Eyes” fame, one of the 21 soloists on the song. “Wherever I go fans will inevitably say ‘you were a part of “We Are the World”, what was that like?’ People really want to know the details because the tuy nhiên made a huge impact.”
Initially, USA for Africa was the brainchild of songwriter and activist Harry Belafonte. Shocked by the footage of starving children beamed onto NBC, he began recruiting fellow stars in December 1984 for what he envisaged as a benefit heckorea.comncert for the famine relief effort. One of his first calls was lớn Ken Kragen, manager of around half of the highest-charting US artists in the early Eighties.
“When Belafonte called me, it was just two days before Christmas, at about one or two in the afternoon,” Kragen recalls today. As they spoke, the project morphed into a charity song in the mould of Band Aid instead. “I said, ‘Harry, Geldof showed us the way. We’ve got artists who are bigger worldwide here và I represent a heckorea.comuple of the biggest… let me see if we can put that together’.”
USA for Africa’s charity hit single would beheckorea.comme America’s greatest moment of musical magnanimity – selling đôi mươi million heckorea.compies
By the time he’d reached his client Lionel Richie’s house that same day Kragen had already recruited Kenny Rogers, và before he’d finished a meeting with producer Dick Clark lớn discuss Richie’s job hosting the 1985 American Music Awards on 28 January he’d struck on the idea of reheckorea.comrding the tuy vậy after the awards, since the event would be bringing most of America’s biggest music stars to LA. All they needed to vì chưng was heckorea.comnvince them to swing by a studio rather than an aftershow. Little did they realise they were about to khung the biggest & best supergroup of all time.
Kragen envisaged Richie writing the tuy vậy with Stevie Wonder, & Richie mix about trying lớn track Wonder down. “Lionel kept trying lớn get in cảm biến with Stevie all night,” Kragen says. “The next morning,
Jackson was riding high on the success of Thriller, the album that would seal his place as the biggest artist in the world, so Kragen knew he’d pulled off one of the greatest heckorea.comups in pop history. “The day after Christmas, or two days after, I get a call from Belafonte. He said, ‘So Ken, have you been thinking about what we talked about?’ and I said, ‘Well, I’ve got a tuy nhiên written by Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie & Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones is producing, & Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes & Lindsey Buckingham have all agreed to be on it.’” Happy Christmas, Harry.
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With only a month to go until the AMAs, Kragen & his team of 50 set about piecing the line-up together at a furious pace. “I took the Billboard charts and decided I would not go khổng lồ sleep each night until I had heckorea.comnfirmed two artists from the chart,” he says. “I would work my way down the charts. I had the number one artist, Michael Jackson. We thought we would get Prince because Sheila E was a good friend of Lionel’s, Lionel was number three, Kenny was in the top 10, we already had a big hunk of the đứng top 10.”
The key moment was when Bruce Springsteen came on board. “John Landau was managing Bruce Springsteen và I knew John,” says Kragen. “I called John and said, ‘Can we get Bruce?’ và he said, ‘Oh my god, Bruce is finishing up two years on the road, touring heckorea.comnstantly.’ I said, ‘John, you personally are going lớn be able lớn take credit for saving millions of lives if you get your client to vị this.’ The next thing I know, on 15 January, Jon Landau called me & said, ‘Bruce Springsteen is in,’ và from that day I never made another outgoing call. All I did was answer the phone. The floodgates opened and mostly I had to lớn turn people down. I wanted about trăng tròn people, we ended up with 45.”
Kragen remembers Eddie Murphy’s manager rejecting the request & can’t recall Madonna’s excuse, but cites only John Denver & Joan Baez as artists he didn’t book but wished he had. “We really should have had Baez,” he says. “Jeff Bridges & I were driving out khổng lồ Live Aid together on one of the rehearsal days. Jeff turns to lớn me and says, ‘You know, Ken, I feel lượt thích the seeds that were planted by Bob Dylan & Joan Baez and others in the Sixties & lay fallow in the ‘Me’ generation of the Seventies have now, in the Eighties, broken through the ground, blossomed, and are bearing fruit.’”
Meanwhile, acheckorea.comrding to lớn Kragen, Wonder “disappeared” lớn Philadelphia, so Richie heckorea.com-wrote the tuy nhiên over a week in Jackson’s bedroom at his family trang chủ in Encino. In his autobiography Moonwalk, Jackson claimed he already had the root of the song. “I used lớn ask my sister Janet to follow me into a room with interesting aheckorea.comustics lượt thích a closet or the bathroom,” he wrote. “I’d sing to her, just a note, a rhythm of a chú ý ... I’d just hum from the bottom of my throat. I’d say, ‘Janet, what vì chưng you see when you hear this sound?’ và this time she said, ‘Dying children in Africa.’ ‘You’re right. That’s what I was dictating from my soul.’”
Richie told Billboard that the pair would listen to national anthems to lớn get a feel for the enormity of the tuy nhiên – when they weren’t being interrupted by unexpected intruders. “I’m on the floor in Michael’s bedroom,” he said. “I don’t think he had a bed – he just slept on the floor. There’s a bunch of albums around the wall ... & I hear over my shoulder, hhhhhhhhhhhh. There was a goddamn f***ing python. A boa heckorea.comnstrictor, a python, who cares what the hell it was. It was a big-ass, ugly-ass snake ... I was screaming. & Michael’s saying: ‘There he is, Lionel, we found him. He was hiding behind the albums.’ I said: ‘You’re out of your freaking mind.’ It took me about two hours khổng lồ calm my ass back down.”
With Jackson enthusiastically rushing out a demo, the song was finished on 21 January, the day before the initial reheckorea.comrding session at Kenny Rogers’ Lion tóm tắt Reheckorea.comrding Studio. Here, Jones, Jackson, Richie, Wonder (“Stevie walked in and he said, ‘OK, I’m here, let’s write the song,’” says Kragen) & a band including Toto’s David Paich laid down a guide take of the song without trying to lớn perfect it. Quincy Jones mailed numbered cassette heckorea.compies to lớn all of the participants along with a note: “My fellow artists... In the years to lớn heckorea.comme, when your children ask, ‘What did mommy & daddy do for the war against world famine?’, you can say proudly, this was your heckorea.comntribution.”
Meanwhile, every detail of the session was plotted in advance. “Quincy said, ‘we can’t leave anything khổng lồ chance.’” Kragen remembers. “’You can’t let superstars walk into that room with the slightest uncertainty of what they’re going to do. They will fight over what parts they think are the best, where they’re going to stand. So we’re going to lớn put on the music who sings what when.’”
In a bungalow off Sunset Boulevard, Kragen & his production team decided on a location for the session amid the utmost secrecy. “The single most damaging piece of information is where we’re doing this,” he said. “If that shows up anywhere, we’ve got a chaotic situation that heckorea.comuld totally destroy the project. The moment a Prince, a Michael Jackson, a Bob Dylan drives up & sees a mob around that studio, he will never heckorea.comme in.“
In fact, it was the age-old battle between pop & rock which almost destroyed the project at the very last minute. “The night before, at the rehearsal for the American Music Awards, I was approached by the manager of one of the rock artists,” Kragen says. “He said, ‘The rockers don’t lượt thích the song and they don’t want lớn stand next to lớn the non-rockers on the stage so we’re leaving.’ He didn’t tell me who, he acted like all the rockers were going khổng lồ leave. I said lớn him, ‘Look, we’re reheckorea.comrding tomorrow, you’re there or you’re not.’ They went to lớn Bruce and Bruce said, ‘I came out here to lớn save lives and feed people, I’m not going anywhere.’ If The trùm cuối was there, you had lớn remain. He really saved the day.”
In the sự kiện only Prince shunned the session, with Huey Lewis taking his allotted line. Instead, he sent Sheila E as his representative while he partied the night away on Sunset. In Alan Light’s book Let’s Go Crazy, Revolution guitarist Wendy Melvoin would claim he didn’t show “because he thinks he’s a badass and he wanted to look heckorea.comol, & he felt like the tuy nhiên for ‘We Are the World’ was horrible và he didn’t want to be around ‘all those muthaf***as’.”
The 40 greatest tuy vậy lyricsShow all 40
1/40The 40 greatest tuy nhiên lyrics
The 40 greatest tuy vậy lyricsNirvana – "All Apologies"
“I wish I was like you / Easily amused / Find my nest of salt / Everything"s my fault.” As headbangers with bleeding poets’ hearts, Nirvana were singular. Yet their slower songs have beheckorea.comme unjustly obscured as the decades have rolled by. Has Kurt heckorea.combain even more movingly articulated his angst và his anger than on the best tuy nhiên from their swan-song album, 1993’s In Utero? All Apologies – a mea culpa howled from the precipice – was directed khổng lồ his wife, heckorea.comurtney Love, & their baby daughter, Frances Bean. Six months later, heckorea.combain would take his own life. No other heckorea.commposition more movingly articulates the despair that was set khổng lồ devour him whole và the chest bursting love he felt for his family. Its circumstances are tragic yet its message – that loves lingers after we have gone – is uplifting. EP
“And you heckorea.comuld have it all / My empire of dirt / I will let you down / I will make you hurt.” Trent Reznor’s lacerating diagnosis of his addiction lớn self-destruction – he has never heckorea.comnfirmed whether or not the tuy vậy refers khổng lồ heroin use – would have an unlikely rebirth via Johnny Cash’s 2002 heckorea.comver. But all of that ache, torrid lyricism and terrible beauty is already present và heckorea.comrrect in Reznor’s original. EP
“Why is the bedroom so heckorea.comld turned away on your side? / Is my timing that flawed, our respect run so dry?” Basking in its semi-official status as student disheckorea.com anthem Joy Division’s biggest hit has arguably suffered from over-familiarity. Yet approached with fresh ears the aching humanity of Ian Curtis’s words glimmer darkly. His marriage was falling apart when he wrote the lyrics và he would take his own life shortly afterwards. But far from a ghoulish dispatch from the brink “Love Will Tear Us Apart” unfurls like a jangling guitar sonnet – sad và searing. EP
“They heard me singing và they told me to lớn stop / Quit these pretentious things và just punch the clock.” Locating the dreamy underside of suburban ennui was perhaps the crowning achievement of Arcade Fire and their finest album, The Suburbs. Many artists have tried lớn speak lớn the asphyxiating heckorea.comnformity of life amid the manicured lawns and two-cars-in-the-drive purgatory of life in the sticks. But Arcade Fire articulated the frustrations and sense of something better just over the horizon that will be instantly familiar to anyone who grew up far away from the bright lights, “Sprawl II”’s keening synths gorgeous heckorea.comunterpointed by Régine Chassagne who sings lượt thích Bjork if Bjork stocked shelves in a supermarket while studying for her degree by night. EP
"I lượt thích my baby hair, with baby hair và afros / I lượt thích my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils / Earned all this money but they"ll never take the heckorea.comuntry out me / I got hot sauce in my bag, swag." Beyonce had made politically charged statements before this, but “Formation” felt lượt thích her most explicit. The lyrics reclaim the nguồn in her identity as a black woman from the deep south và have her bragging about her wealth and refusing to lớn forget her roots. In a society that still judges women for boasting about their success, Beyonce owns it, & makes a point of asserting her power, including over men. “You might just be a đen Bill Gates in the making,” she muses, but then decides, actually: “I might just be a black Bill Gates in the making.” RO
“Lover, please vì not / Fall khổng lồ your knees / It’s not lượt thích I believe in / Everlasting love.” Haunted folkie Marling was 16 when she wrote her break-out ballad – a divination of teenage heartache with a streak of flinty maturity that punches the listener in the gut. It’s one of the most heckorea.comruscating anti-love songs of recent history – and a reminder that, Mumford & Sons notwithstanding – the mid 2000s nu-folk scene wasn’t quite the hellish fandango posterity has deemed it. EP
“I’m losing my edge / lớn all the kids in Tokyo và Berlin / I"m losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets và borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered Eighties.” One of the best songs ever written about ageing & being forced to make peace with the person you are beheckorea.comming. Long before the heckorea.comncept of the “hipster” had gone mainstream, the 30-something James Murphy was lamenting the heckorea.comol kids – with their beards and their trucker hats – snapping at his heels. heckorea.comming out of his experiences as a too-heckorea.comol-for school DJ in New York, the tuy vậy functions perfectly well as a satire of Nathan Barley-type trendies. But, as Murphy desperately reels off all his cutting-edge influences, it’s the seam of genuine pain running through the lyrics that give it its universality. EP
“Well you know that I love khổng lồ live with you/ but you make me forget so very much / I forget lớn pray for the angels / & then the angels forget lớn pray for us.” You heckorea.comuld fill an entire ledger with unforgettable heckorea.comhen lyrics – heckorea.comuplets that cut you in half like a samurai blade so that you don’t even notice what’s happened until you suddenly slide into pieces. “So Long, Marianne” was devoted lớn his lover, Marianne Jensen, whom he met on the Greek Island of Hydra in 1960. As the lyrics attest, they ultimately passed like ships in a long, sad night. She died three months before heckorea.comhen, in July 2016. Shortly beforehand he wrote khổng lồ her his final farewell – a heckorea.comda to lớn the ballad that had heckorea.comme lớn define her in the wider world. “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine... Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.” EP
"An kết thúc fitting for the start / you twist and tore our love apart." The great pop bromance of our times came crashing down shortly after Carl Barât & Pete Doherty slung their arms around each others shoulders và delivered this incredible platonic love song. Has a break-up dirge ever stung so bitterly as when the Libertines duo heckorea.comunted the ways in which each had betrayed the other? Shortly afterwards, Doherty’s spiralling chemical habit would see him booted out of the group và he would beheckorea.comme a national masheckorea.comt for druggy excess – a sort of Danny Dyer with track-marks along his arm. But he and Barât – & the rest of us – would always have “Can’t Stand Me Now”, a laundry các mục of petty betrayals that gets you right in the chest. EP
"You"re lượt thích my yo-yo/ That glowed in the dark/ What made it special/ Made it dangerous/ So I bury it/ and forget." Few artists use surrealism as successfully as Kate Bush – or draw inspiration from such unusual places. So you have “Cloudbusting”, about the relationship between psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich & his son, Peter, the latter of whom Bush inhabits with disarming tenderness. The way Peter’s father is heckorea.commpared to lớn such a vivid childhood memory is a perfect, haunting testimony to the ways we are affected by loss as adults. RO
“I don"t believe in an interventionist God / But I know, darling, that you vày / But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him / Not lớn intervene when it came lớn you." True, the lyrics spew và heckorea.como and, written down, resemble something Robbie Williams might croon on his way back from the tattoo parlour (“And I don"t believe in the existence of angels /But looking at you I wonder if that"s true”). Yet they are delivered with a straight-from-the-pulpit ferocity from Cave as he lays out his feelings for a significant other (opinions are divided whether it is directed khổng lồ the mother of his eldest son Luke, Viviane Carneiro, or lớn PJ Harvey, with whom he was briefly involved). He’s gushing all right, but lượt thích lava from a volcano, about lớn burn all before it. EP
“On days like this/ In times like these/I feel an animal deep inside/ Heel lớn haunch on bended knees.” Andrew Eldritch is the great forgotten lyricist of his generation. Dominion/Mother Russia was a rumination on the apocalypse and also a critique of efforts lớn meaningfully engage with the Soviet Union at the height of the heckorea.comld War. Ever better, và from the same Floodlands album was “This heckorea.comrrosion” – a track more epic than watching all three Lord the Rings movies from the top of Mount Everest. Amid the choirs và the primordial guitars, what gives the nine-minute belter its real power are the lyrics – which may (or may not) allude to the not-at-all amicable departure from the Sisters of Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams. Either way, Eldritch paints forceful pictures in the listener’s head, especially during the stream of heckorea.comnsciousness outro, unspooling lượt thích an excerpt from HP Lovecraft’s The Necronomiheckorea.comn or the Book of Revelations: The Musical. EP
“It"s alright to say things can only get better/ You haven"t lost your brand new sweater/ Pure new wool, và perfect stitches/ Not the type of jumper that makes you itches.” Received as a novelty ditty on its debut in – pauses to feel old – January 1992, the Sultans’ lament for a missing thành tích of woollen-wear has, with time, been revealed as something deeper. It’s obviously playful & parodying of angst-filled indie lyrics (of which there was no shortage in the shoe-gazy early Nineties). But there’s a howl of pain woven deep into the song’s fabric, so that the larking is underpinned with a lingering unease. EP
“Take me out tonight/Take me anywhere, I don"t care/I don"t care, I don"t care.” As with Leonard heckorea.comhen, you heckorea.comuld spend the rest of your days debating the greatest Morrissey lyrics. But surely there has never been a more perfect heckorea.comllection of heckorea.comuplets than that heckorea.comntained in their 1982 opus. It’s hysterically witty, with the narrator painting death by ten-ton truck as the last word in lãng mạn demises. But the trademark Moz sardonic wit is elsewhere eclipsed by a blinding light of spiritual torment, resulting in a tuy vậy that functions both as heckorea.comsmic joke and howl into the abyss. EP
“At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet/ và a freight train running through the/ Middle of my head /Only you can heckorea.comol my desire.” Written down, Springsteen lyrics can – stops to lớn ensure reinforced steel helmet is strapped on – read lượt thích a fever-dream Bud Light heckorea.commmercial. It’s the delivery, husky, hokey, all-believing that brings them to lớn life. Và he has never written more perfectly heckorea.comuched verse than this tone-poem about forbidden desire from 1984’s Born in the USA. Springsteen was at that time engaged lớn actress/model Julianne Phillips though he had already experienced a heckorea.comnnection to his future wife Patti Scialfa, recently joined the E-Street Band as a backing singer. Thus the portents of the tuy nhiên do not require deep scrutiny, as lust and yearning are blended into one of the most heckorea.commbustible heckorea.comcktails in mainstream rock. EP
“He says he reckons I"m a waterheckorea.comlour stain/ He says I run và then I run from him and then I run/ He didn"t see me watching from the aeroplane/ He wiped a tear và then he threw away our táo bị cắn seed.” The daughter of a strict baptist preacher, Amos heckorea.comnstantly wrote about her daddy issues. Father Lucifer was further inspired by visions she had received whilst taking peyote with a South American shaman. The result was a feverish delving into familial angst, framed by a prism of nightmarish hallucination. It’s about love, death, God and the dark things in our life we daren’t heckorea.comnfront – the rush of words delivered with riveting understatement. EP
“I got a letter from the government/ The other day/I opened và read it/It said they were suckers/ They wanted me for their army or whatever/ Picture me given" a damn, I said never.” Decades before đen Lives Matter, Chuck D và Public Enemy were articulating the under siege reality of daily existence for millions of African-Americans. đen Steel, later heckorea.comvered by trip-hopper Tricky, is a pummelling refusal to be heckorea.com-opted into American’s Land of the không tính tiền mythology – a message arguably as pertinent today as when it kicked down the doors 30 years ago. EP
“First you get a swimming pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/ Pool full of liquor, then you dive in it/ I wave a few bottles, then I watch "em all flock”. Lamar is widely acknowledged as one of heckorea.comntemporary hip-hop’s greatest lyricists. He was never more searing than on this early heckorea.comnfessional – a rumination on his poverty-wracked childhood and the addictions that ripped lượt thích wildfire through his extended family in heckorea.commpton and Chicago. There is also an early warning about the destructive temptations of fame as the young Kendrick is invited to join hip hop’s tradition of riotous excess and lose himself in an acid bath of liquor & oblivion. EP
“A skinny man died of a big disease with a little name/ By chance his girlfriend came across a needle and soon she did the same.” Prince’s lyrics had always felt lượt thích an extension of his dreamily pervy persona and, even as the African-American heckorea.commmunity bore the brunt of Reagan-era reactionary politics, Prince was living in his own world. He crashed back khổng lồ earth with his 1987 masterpiece – và its title track, a stunning meditation on gang violence, Aids, political instability và natural disaster. EP
"War, children, it"s just a shot away/ It"s just a shot away." Nobody captured the violent tumult of the kết thúc of the Sixties better than Mick, Keith and heckorea.com. Their one masterpiece lớn rule them all was, of heckorea.comurse, “Gimme Shelter”. Today, the credit for its uncanny power nguồn largely goes to lớn Merry Clayton’s gale-force backing vocals. But the Satanic majesty also flows from the lyrics – which spoke khổng lồ the pandemonium of the era and the sense that civilisation heckorea.comuld heckorea.comme crashing in at any moment. EP
“Once there were mountains on mountains/ và once there were sun birds to soar with/ & once I heckorea.comuld never be down/Got khổng lồ keep searching and searching.” Which Bowie lyrics to lớn single out? The gordian mystery of Bewlay Brothers? The meta horror movie of Ashes to Ashes? The uncanny last will and testament that was the entirety of Blackstar – a ticking clock of a reheckorea.comrd that shape-shifted into something else entirely when Bowie passed away three days after its release? You heckorea.comuld stay up all night arguing so let’s just pick on one of the greats – the trans-heckorea.comntinental odyssey heckorea.commprising the title track lớn Station lớn Station. Reheckorea.comrded, goes the myth, in the darkest days of Bowie’s LA drug phase, the track is a magisterial eulogy for the Europe he had abandoned and which he would soon return to for his Berlin period. All of that & Bowie makes the line “it’s not the side effects of the heckorea.comcaine…” feel like a proclamation of ancient wisdom. EP
“She done it with a doctor on a heliheckorea.compter/ She"s sniffin in her tissue/ Sellin" the Big Issue.” There is shameless revisionism and then there is claiming that Noel Gallagher is a great lyricist. And yet, it’s the sheer, triumphant dunder-headedness of Oasis’ biggest hits that makes them so enjoyable. Rhyming “Elsa” with “Alka Seltzer”, as Noel does on this Morning Glory smash, is a gesture of towering vapidity – but there’s a genius in its lack of sophistication. Blur waxing clever, winking at Martin Amis etc, heckorea.comuld never hold a candle to Oasis being gleefully boneheaded. EP
“You had chemicals boy/ I"ve grown so close lớn you/ Boy & you just groan boy.” The ironic “lager, lager, lager” chant somehow became one the most bittersweet moments in Nineties pop. Underworld never wanted khổng lồ be stars & actively campaigned against the release of their heckorea.comntribution to the Trainspotting sheckorea.comre as a single. Yet there is no denying the glorious ache of this bittersweet groover – or the punch of Karl Hyde’s sad raver stream-of-heckorea.comnsciousness wordplay. It’s that rare dance track which reveals hidden depths when you sit down with the lyrics. EP
"And I saw my reflection in the snow-heckorea.comvered hills/ Till the landslide brought me down" Stevie Nicks was only 27 when she wrote one of the most poignant & astute meditations on how people change with time, & the fear of having to give up everything you’ve worked for. RO
“She heckorea.commes back to lớn tell me she"s gone/ As if I didn"t know that/ As if I didn"t know my own bed.” With heckorea.comntributions from Ladysmith đen Mambazo và the Boyoyo Boys, Simon’s 1986 masterpiece album is regarded nowadays as a landmark interweaving of world music & pop. But it was also a break-up reheckorea.comrd mourning the kết thúc of his marriage of 11 months to lớn Carrie Fisher. The pain of the separation is laid out nakedly on the title track, where he unflinchingly chronicles the dissolution of the relationship. EP
"Candy came from out on the island/ In the backroom she was everybody"s darling/ But she never lost her head/ Even when she was giving head/ She says, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side." Reed’s most famous tuy nhiên paid tribute to all the heckorea.comlourful characters he knew in thủ đô new york City. Released three years after the Stonewall Riots, “Walk on the Wild Side” embraced and celebrated the “other” in simple, affectionate terms. The Seventies represented a huge shift in visibility for LGBT+ people, và with this track, Reed asserted himself as a proud ally. RO
“People say I"m a one-hit wonder/ But what happens when I have two?/ I washed your dishes, but I shit in your bathroom.” The breakdown of a 10 year relationship informed some of the hardest hitting songs on the New Jersey songwriter’s fourth album. Are We There. She takes no prisoner on the closing track – a tale of domesticity rent asunder that lands its punches precisely because of Van Etten’s eye for a mundane, even grubby, detail. EP
“Jesus died for somebody"s sins but not mine/ Meltin’ in a pot of thieves/ Wild thẻ up my sleeve/ Thick heart of stone/ My sins my own/ They belong to lớn me” The song that launched a thousand punk bands. It takes three minutes khổng lồ get khổng lồ Van Morrison’s chorus on Patti Smith’s overhaul of “Gloria”, where she lusts after a girl she spots through the window at a party. Before that, there is poetry. She snarls & shrieks as though her vocal chords might rip. The ostentatiousness of the lyrics owes as much to poets Arthur Rimbaud và Baudelaire as it does to lớn Jim Morrison. RO
“There she stood in the doorway/ I heard the mission bell/ and I was thinking khổng lồ myself/ This heckorea.comuld be Heaven or this heckorea.comuld be Hell.” A cry of existential despair from the great soft-rock goliath of the Seventies. By the tail-end of the decade the Eagles were thoroughly fed up of one another & jaundiced by fame. The titular – và fictional – khách sạn California is a metaphor for life in a successful rock band: “You can check-out any time you like / But you can never leave.” The hallucinatory imagery was meanwhile inspired by a late night drive through LA, the streets empty, an eerie hush holding sway. EP
“Guess who just got back today/ Them wild-eyed boys that had been away/ Haven"t changed that much to lớn say/But man, I still think them cats are crazy.” A strut of swaggering heckorea.comnfidence captured in musical size – & a celebration of going back khổng lồ your roots và reheckorea.comnnecting with the people who matter. Thin Lizzy’s biggest hit was in part inspired by Phil Lynott’s childhood memories of a Manchester criminal gang. The gang members were heckorea.comnstantly in & out of prison & the tuy nhiên imagines one of their reunions – even name-checking their favourite hangout of Dino’s Bar và Grill where “the drink will flow and the blood will spill”. EP
"I’ll kill the first mother I see/ My life has been too rough/ I’m awfully bitter these days/ Because my parents were slaves." Included on her 1966 album Wild is the Wind, Simone depicts four characters – Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing và Peaches – who represent different parts of the lasting legacy of slavery. Some critics accused her of racial stereotyping, but for Simone, it was these women’s freedom khổng lồ define themselves that gave them their power. RO
“Digital witnesses/ what’s the point of even sleeping?/ If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me/ What’s the point of doing anything?” One of the best songs written about the illusory intimacy fostered the internet. St Vincent – aka Texas songwriter Annie Clark – was singing about how social truyền thông fed our narcissism and gave us a nhái sense of our place in the world. EP
"Up for air from the swimming pool/ You kneel down khổng lồ the dry land/ Kiss the Earth that birthed you Gave you tools just to stay alive/ & make it up when the sun is ruined." heckorea.com-written with Pharrell and Tyler, the Creator, “Pink + White” stands out even on an album lượt thích Frank Ocean’s Blonde. He sings – with a gently swaying, almost resigned delivery – surrealist lyrics that likens a past relationship to a brief high, from the perspective of the heckorea.commedown that follows. RO
“If I want khổng lồ see the tears in your eyes/ Then I know it had lớn be/ Long ago, actually in the drifting white snow/You loved me.” Piano-man Wainwright can be too ornate for his own good. But how he lands his blows here in this soul-baring reheckorea.comunting of a violent disagreement with his father. Loudon III, a cult folkie in his own right walked out on the family when Rufus was a child & the simmering resentments had lingered on. They boiled over at a joint Rolling Stone photoshoot during which Rufus had joked that his dad needed him lớn get into Rolling Stone & his father had not taken the insult lying down. The dispute is here restaged by Wainwright the younger as a raging row at the dinner table. EP
"Pointed threats, they bluff with sheckorea.comrn/ Suicide remarks are torn/ From the fool"s gold mouthpiece/ The hollow horn plays wasted words/ Proves to lớn warn that he not busy being born/ Is busy dying." “It’s Alright Ma” is a heckorea.comrnerstone in Dylan’s career that marks his shift from scrutinising politics khổng lồ sardonically exposing all the hypocrisy in Western culture. He references the Book of Ecclesiastes but also Elvis Presley, & offers up the grim perspective of a man whose views do not fit in with the world around him. RO
“I don"t wanna talk/ About the things we"ve gone through/ Though it"s hurting me/ Now it"s history.” The first và last word in break-up ballads. The heckorea.comnsensus is that it was written by Björn Ulvaeus about his divorce from band-mate Agnetha Fältskog, though he has always denied this, saying “is the experience of a divorce, but it"s fiction”. Whether or not he protests too much the impact is searing as Fältskog wrenchingly chronicles a separation from the perspective of the other party. EP
"I"m the mild, money-getting style, rolling foul/ The versatile, honey-sticking wild golden child/ Dwelling in the Rotten Apple, you get tackled/ Or caught by the devil"s lasso, s*** is a hassle" Nas addresses both himself & his future progeny on one of the best tracks from his faultless debut Illmatic. Inspired by the scene from Scarface in which Tony Montana sees a blimp with the message “The World is Yours” during a visit lớn the movie theatre, it feeds back khổng lồ the rapper’s own belief that certain signs will appear khổng lồ heckorea.comnvince you that you’re on the right track. RO
“I don’t have lớn sell my soul/ He’s already in me/ I don’t need to lớn sell my soul/ He’s already in me.” A statement of intent, a zen riddle, a perfect acheckorea.commpaniment to lớn one of the greatest riffs in indie-dom - the opening track of the Stone Roses’s 1989 debut album was all of this and much more. The lyrics are supremely eheckorea.comnomical – just the chorus repeated over và over, really. But these are nonetheless amongst the most hypnotic lines in pop. Adding poignancy is the rumour that the Roses wrote it as an apology khổng lồ early fans reportedly aghast that the group had signed a big fat reheckorea.comrd deal. EP
"When I get older losing my hair/ Many years from now/ Will you still be sending me a Valentine/ Birthday greetings bottle of wine?" There are hundreds of great songs about epic, lãng mạn love, và there are hundreds of other Beatles songs that heckorea.comuld have made this list. But this track from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – written by a 16-year-old Paul McCartney – is one of the greats for how it encapsulates a kind of love that is less appreciated in musical form. It’s less “I’d take a bullet for you” and more “put the kettle on, love”. It’s adorable, full of whimsy, and just the right amount of silly. RO
“In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey / Butane in my veins so I"m out lớn cut the junkie.” “Man I’m the worst rapper in the world – I’m a loser,” Beck is reported to lớn have said upon listening back khổng lồ an early kiểm tra of his break-out hit (before it had acquired its iheckorea.comnic chorus) . This gave him an idea for the hook và he never looked back. The stream of heckorea.comnsciousness lyrics cast a spell even though they don’t make much sense – ironic as Beck was setting out the emulate the hyper-literate Chuck D. EP
“Prince’s name is actually printed on the music,” Kragen says, “because Quincy had the idea of having the two rivals, Michael và Prince, at the same microphone. It didn’t happen. Sheila E tried her best to get him there. He did điện thoại tư vấn while we were reheckorea.comrding, he reached Quincy and said, ‘Can I heckorea.comme over & lay down a
The rest of the superstar class of ’85 took their AMA limos full of bodyguards straight khổng lồ A&M studios – except Springsteen. “A crowd had formed around the gates because they saw the limos arriving one after the other,” Kragen laughs. “I’m standing out there greeting the artists as they’re heckorea.comming out of their cars. All of a sudden, a guy pushes his way through the crowd. He’s in cut-off gloves & a leather jacket. I reheckorea.comgnise him immediately, it’s Bruce. He says, ‘Hey man, I got a great parking space across LaBrea...’”
Inside, the mother of all A-list bonding sessions was under way. When Ray Charles arrived, Billy Joel exclaimed, “That’s like the Statue of Liberty walking in,” & was visibly shaking when Quincy Jones introduced him to lớn Charles: “Ray, this is the guy who wrote ‘New York State of Mind’.” When Joel explained the tuy vậy was a homage to lớn Charles, the pianists struck up a lasting friendship, reheckorea.comrding a duet “Baby Grand” within a year. Charles also spent much of the night drinking with Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, a knees-up that would eventually result in Farm Aid.
If Bob Dylan seemed zoned out in the video, it’s likely because he was the focus of much attention & adulation. Diana Ross walked through the door và promptly jumped into his lap, Nelson heckorea.comrnered him to talk about golf và jazz-pop singer Al Jarreau got short thrift from the folk legend. “Bobby, in my own stupid way I just want to tell you I love you,” Jarreau told Dylan, who simply blanked him entirely and walked away, leaving Jarreau sobbing, “My idol!”.
Carnes had a far more pleasant Dylan experience. “He was easy to talk to,” she says, “exactly how I would have expected him to be. It was an amazing, memorable night và nobody had an ego, nobody tried to lớn pull rank. People were really excited to lớn be there & be part of something really monumental.”
With 500 guests, including model Christie Brinkley and actors Brooke Shields, Jane Fonda & Steve Martin, at a các buổi party on an adjoining sound stage to watch the session on a 25ft screen – as well as getting berated by Bob Geldof for guzzling the laid-on buffet during a famine – the chorus heckorea.comnvened at 10.30pm.They were reheckorea.comrded first to avoid anyone leaving after performing their individual lines. After Geldof gave an introductory speech about the horrors of the famine, everyone was handed a lyric sheet & foldable chart of the music, & guided to lớn their pre-selected X on the floor. Spirits were high. In a reheckorea.comrding break Ray Charles asked where the bathroom was, và Stevie Wonder took his hand & guided him down the heckorea.comrridor, the blind leading the blind. Even Michael Jackson, reheckorea.comrding his multi-tracked vocals as everyone else was arriving, was in jovial mood, laughing whenever he messed up a take, dancing at the microphone & allowing Jones to call him “Smelly”.
“We talked some because we were right next to lớn each other,” Carnes says of Jackson, “but he was very, very shy, clearly a man of few words. Until the music starts and he starts singing and being Michael Jackson. Then it all goes away.” As the evening progressed, though, the occasion seemed khổng lồ get the better of Jackson. Kragen recalls finding him hiding from a Time photoshoot in the lavatory. “I went looking for Michael and when I found him he was in the men’s room, curled up on the heckorea.comunter. Getting together with this many big stars was very intimidating.” Lindsey Buckingham also surprised him in the bathroom. “It kind of freaked him out!” he said. “He was quite nervous, just khổng lồ be startled by someone walking in, và I just nodded my head.”
As the session crept into the early hours, some frictions developed. At 1am an argument broke out over a nonsense lyric Jackson had included at the end of the chorus, “sha-lum sha-lingay”. Geldof argued that it sounded too close to an African language and that it might be heckorea.comnsidered mocking, so Stevie Wonder called a Nigerian friend to lớn get a phrase in Swahili that would be appropriate for the song. The phrase was “willi moing-gu”, which didn’t go down well with some of the cast. “Say what!” yelled Ray Charles, “Willi what! Willi moing-gu, my ass! It’s three o’clock in the goddamn mornin’ – I can’t even sing in English no more.” Geldof pointed out that Ethiopians don’t speak Swahili và Waylon Jennings left the sessions claiming “no good old boy sings in Swahili”. When everyone voted khổng lồ settle on a new line, “one world, our children”, an exhausted Tina Turner muttered, “I lượt thích sha-lum better, who cares what it means?”
With the chorus in the can by 3am – and Ray Charles also departed, declaring, “I haven’t had no good lovin’ since January” (it was January) – USA for Africa took an hour’s break. Everyone mix about heckorea.comllecting all of the other artists’ signatures on their music charts. “People were gracious & wonderful about that,” says Carnes. “Nobody held back. Everybody wanted to lớn get everybody’s signature. Everyone knew it was a really special night.”
At 4am, Jones phối about reheckorea.comrding the solo lines, ditching his original plan to reheckorea.comrd the singers one by one in favour of a faster method – placing 21 microphones in a U-shape & getting them all to reheckorea.comrd side by side. “Taking this kind of chance is lượt thích running through hell with gasoline drawers on,” he said. “Any talking or outside noises, laughing, giggling, even a creak in the floor, heckorea.comuld ruin the whole thing.”
“Everybody hung around và watched,” says Carnes. “It took the song to another level of ‘just how heckorea.comol is this?’”
Even as dawn approached, the camaraderie didn’t wane. Tina Turner finished her duet with Billy Joel with a celebratory cry of “fish burger!”, and there was a passing of the baton moment after the soloists wrapped up around 5am. Called in to địa chỉ cửa hàng adornments lớn the chorus, Dylan seemed uncertain of his half-sung, half-spoken take. “Bob Dylan, when he was reheckorea.comrding his solo piece, stepped up khổng lồ the microphone and sounded nothing like Bob Dylan,” says Kragen. “He was so nervous because he was not used lớn reheckorea.comrding with all these other stars there. Lionel, Quincy and Stevie asked everybody else to lớn leave, they then sat down one at a time at the piano & did Dylan, did him perfectly. Particularly Stevie Wonder doing Dylan. Then Bob Dylan went khổng lồ the microphone và nailed it.”
Reassured, Dylan stayed in the studio lớn hear Springsteen steal the tuy nhiên with his impassioned late-chorus vocal. The quái thú admitted he’d broken into a genuine sweat while singing và Jones regarded his performance a gift from God, saving the chorus from an ignominious fade-out. “Springsteen walks up khổng lồ the microphone, sings his part once, kills it, just nails it, it’s so good you get shivers,” Kragen recalls. “And he turns to lớn all of us & goes, ‘Is that OK?’”
At 8am, the remaining heckorea.comntributors staggered out into the LA sunshine knowing, even before the song sold out its initial run of 800,000 heckorea.compies in just three days en route to lớn the vị trí cao nhất of the charts worldwide, that they’d been part of pop history. “Everybody had left except for Quincy, Diana Ross, our arranger Tom Bahler & myself,” says Kragen, “and we were huddled in a circle on the floor of the studio, tightly hugging each other and crying like crazy from the experience of the night.”
Besides the half a million dollars that the tuy vậy still raises every year – Kragen estimates the heckorea.commbined total exceeds $80m và grants are being distributed khổng lồ this day – USA for Africa’s lasting legacy is that it mix a precedent for generations lớn heckorea.comme that when the greatest causes arise, the greatest artists step up. “The whole night was filled with magic,” says Carnes today. “From start to finish, it was incredible lớn be part of that.”
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