Sunday, January 25, 2009

Know Your 80s Charity Supergroups

The 1980s were a weird time. That is a huge compliment because the 1970s came just before, and they were odd, too. The Eighties were the era of the space shuttle, neon clothing, "Just Say No", MTV, Hands Across America and... caring about Africa by way of recording music. How did this all happen???

Before that time, no Cold War American really cared about the rest of the world, and especially not places like Ethiopia. But social awareness came into being (somehow), and we're all the wiser about the litany of famines and genocides (still going on) today. I would say 99% of that knowledge came from two groups of pop stars that came together and wrote songs specifically for the Dark Continent. But, do you remember which is which?


Band Aid
Song title: "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (aka Feed the World)
People count: 44
Blind persons: 0
Jacksons?: 0
Ghostbusters involved? 0
Artists still alive today: all 44
Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jEnTSQStGE



USA for Africa
Song title: "We Are the World"
People count: 45
Blind persons: 2
Ghostbusters involved? Dan Akroyd
Jacksons: 7
Artists still alive today: 42 (RIP Ray Charles and Waylon Jennings... update 2009: Michael Jackson)
Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INwB0BWVDnM


As an added bonus:

Hear 'n Aid was the heavy metal universe's stab at the Africa problem. "We're Stars" was the song, sanctioned by the band Dio, which shows even future glam kings care about getting their name out fighting world hunger. In the middle of the song, there's a massive guitar solo onslaught that lasts about 3 minutes, and I have to wonder how this group of shredders composed it without tearing each other's heads off. The amount of hairspray in a single room just baffles me. Unfortunately Ted Nugent was somewhere in the act, too.
Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZktrrqT1A0


Part Deux is here.

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