Feb 5, 2010
Amidst the rush of celebrity do-gooding for Haiti are a number of music recordings that benefit various organizations working in the earthquake-ravaged country. "We Are The World" was originally recorded in 1985 to help Africa, and now it's being revived, with a new round of contemporary music stars (and produced with original helm-master Quincy Jones), all in an effort to help Haiti. The single will debut at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver next week, guaranteeing it big exposure, meaning big sales, ergo, more aid.
As expected, the effort has raised all kinds of ethical questions around the benefit and drawbacks of charity singles, and the pros and cons of the super-rich-and-famous shilling for the truly destitute and desperate. I'm not going to wade into those super-deep debating waters here, but I will say, I was excited when I came across the above report detailing former Pogue Shane MacGowan's assembling of some great musical luminaries to re-record the outrageously sexy Screamin' Jay Hawkins song "I Put A Spell On You" to help Haiti. Mick Jones, Nick Cave, Chrissie Hynde, and Glen Matlock were all involved in the recording. What I like is that the entire process appears to be so organic and homespun; no one's wearing makeup or flaunting designer gear (though, as befits the rock and roll crew, there is drink). No one's flapping on about their sincerity, and the song isn't nauseatingly saccharine, either -it's not a specially-composed tune for the occasion, but an old chestnut that is a long, true favourite among music lovers of all stripes. All proceeds from the single are benefiting Concern Worldwide, a Dublin-based charity that has a long history of working in Haiti.
Update: This rocks. Take a listen.
Somehow, I suspect, were Ms. Simone alive, she'd want to be in the same room as Cave, MacGowan, et al. Really, could you blame her?