Saturday, March 7, 2015

WE ARE THE WORLD: THIRTY YEARS LATER


It was thirty years ago today that "We Are The World", the all-star charity single was released. This song went on to sell twenty million copies worldwide with the proceeds directed towards African famine relief.

After being inspired by the British holiday single, "Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band-Aid to bring money and awareness to famine in Ethiopia, Harry Belafonte decided he wanted to do this in America. The actor/activist enlisted pop superstars, Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritche to compose a song that would accomplish this task and brought Quincy Jones on board to co-produce.

On January 28th, some of the biggest musical artists of the day came together to lend their voices to make "We Are The World" and became known as "USA For Africa". Even Bob Geldolf, who co-wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas", participated on the song as part of the chorus of forty-five musicians. This amazing song is still as thrilling today as it was when it was first hit the airwaves. To date, "We Are The World" has raised over sixty-three million dollars in humanitarian aid for Africa.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

MY TUNE OF THE DAY


I was surprised to see that Joni Mitchell, the iconic singer/songwriter, now appears to be a fashion model. The seventy-one year old legend is part of the spring ad campaign for Saint Laurent Paris along with other stylish rockers, Kim Gordon, Marilyn Manson and Marianne Faithfull. This inspired me to take a look back at the music of Mitchell, who has pretty much retired as a musician and her focus now is just painting.

Today's tune is "Big Yellow Taxi" and the environmental concerns covered in the song seem even more relevant today. During her first trip to Hawaii, Mitchell was shocked to see in the middle of this beautiful paradise was a large, ugly parking lot and quickly put her thoughts to music.

The original studio version of the song was released in 1970 and became a hit in Australia, Britain and her native Canada. The live recording came out four years later and reached the top-forty in America. Many other artists have covered "Big Yellow Taxi" with versions by Amy Grant and Counting Crows becoming very popular.

"Big Yellow Taxi" - Joni Mitchell (1974)

"Big Yellow Taxi" was famously sampled by Janet Jackson on "Got 'Til It's Gone", one of my all-time favorite tunes by the artist. Check out the great music video directed by film maker,Mark Romanek:

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