After four years of writing a weekly opinion column there comes a time that you wonder what can be written that is different. For inspiration I looked at what I had written this time last year and not surprisingly, I found the same problems by the same people in the news, corruption and lack of health have not changed.
all I want to do is complain which is not the case. Yes, I want to throw light
on bad behaviour, but really, I would prefer to support and encourage more
uplifting stories of good human behaviour - if only it existed.
in history if January 28 held anything to be proud of or had lasted the test of
time, to still be relevant known and celebrated.
In 1986 the
space shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all
seven crew aboard off the coast of cape Canaveral Florida.
watching this and feeling how shocking it was to witness their deaths live on
later, the news is constantly full of horrendous deaths and hopelessness of
human tragedy, from natural disasters to wars, we have become numb to it all.
instead of honouring those lost in the Challenger by remembering them, they do
so by continuing the mission.
instead of learning and changing our behaviours seen on social media, we make
heroes of them by giving them viral screen time worldwide. Not uplifting.
worth remembering. In 1985 the charity song We
are the World was recorded to benefit USA for Africa.
aligned that day, 46 music stars in total. The single and album raised the
equivalent of $160 million today for humanitarian causes.
Written by Lionel
Richie and Michael Jackson, it won three Grammys, including song of the year.
Jones producer, together with talent agent Ken Keagan, who managed to assemble
the ensemble, put up a sign that read “Check your egos at the door” because Jones
had exactly one night to cut a record that would essentially save lives and
help alleviate famine in Ethiopia.
To prep for
writing the song Ritchie and Jackson listened to national anthems from several
countries like USA, United Kingdom, Germany and Russia.
it all into a mixing pot in their heads Ritchie said they wanted to come up
with a rhythm that sounded as familiar to many people, like a world anthem.
started at 9pm and lasted 12 hours. This is the day of cassette tapes so most
had not heard of the song prior to arriving. It was recorded right after the
American Music Awards (AMA) which was hosted by Lionel Richie.
in limousines with security guards, except for Bruce Springsteen who drove and
parked his truck across the road and walked in.
these names involved it was amazing that no one knew it was happening, this
couldn’t be possible to do these days with cell phones, cameras and social
There were 46
amazing singers in the chorus, the likes of Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Billy
Joel, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Cyndi Lauper,
Bob Dylan, Lindsey Buckingham, Sheila E, Jeffrey Osborne Smokey Robinson,
Pointer Sisters Jackson 5, Daryl and John Oates, Huey Lewis, Dan Aykroyd, Bette
Midler, Bob Geldof, Kenny Rodgers, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. The push for
this came from Harry Belafonte who was inspired by the UK star charity single Do they know it’s Christmas recorded
At one point,
Ray Charles asks “Where is the bathroom?” Stevie Wonder says “I’ll show you” and
leads him to the appropriate door, as everyone witnessed the blind leading the
was done between 10.30pm and 3am, solo lines 4am and 5am, so that no one would
leave before the majority of the song was recorded. Everyone was told where to
stand, and what, and when to sing. Genres of pop, rock and country came
together to make magical music that night. There were seven takes of the chorus
to get it right with Stevie Wonder coaching Bob Dylan on how to sing his line.
Nelson was inspired by it saying “…Be nice if we did something for the people
in our own country.” That seed would become the concert Farm Aid. The USA for
Africa impact inspired many people to start their own charitable movements.
said “Anytime anybody asks you to take one night of your time to stop people
starving to death, it’s pretty hard – you can’t say no.” Prince and Madonna said
At the AMA,
Purple Rain beat out Thriller for pop rock album of the year. Later while
Jackson sang to help people, Prince was out partying.