If you were alive in the late 80’s, you’ll remember a time when all of the world’s problems were solved through song.
- John Parr released “Man in Motion” and as a result, everyone became 18% more awesome
- Bon Jovi took our hands, promising we’d make it (or so he swears). And you know what? We did.
- Ah Ha came out with Take on Me and everyone agreed that music will never get better than that and I guess also it cured the ozone layer or something.
The point is, the 80’s were a magical time, where music could make the world a better place.
At the time, the cause de jour was famine in Africa and by God, the celebrities had to do something. They couldn’t possibly be expected to solve Africa’s food crisis simply by, oh, I don’t know, giving them some of their own money? No that wouldn’t work, the only thing that would do the trick was a ham-fisted song wherein a portion of the proceeds went to the kids.
This, despite the fact that the bands included Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, U2, Neil Young, Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, David Bowie and ALL of Big Country.
FYI, Michael Jackson’s net worth in 1984 – $168 million. I’m just saying.
Yeah. To solve hunger in Africa, each of the Countries released a song, at roughly the same time.
For anyone not alive, you can’t possibly understand how fantastically bizarre this was. Remember when Armageddon and Deep Impact came out at the same time? It was like that, but times three.
Here were the songs:
- We are the world (USA for Africa – US)
- Tears are not enough (Northern Lights – Canada)
- Do they know it’s Christmas (Band Aid – UK)
Anyhow, now you know the idiot players involved, let’s get right down to the comparisons to determine which country is superior (apparently not Africa).
Part 1: The Lyrics:
USA: We are the World, we are the children. We are the ones who make a better day, so let’s start giving.
This lyric single-handedly demonstrates the problem with the US. You’re not the entire World, you self-centered douche bags. And Bruce Springsteen is no more a starving child in Africa any more than I am the ruler of a small country off the coast of Peru. And as revealed in the paragraph above, the singers actually didn’t contribute any money.
Canada: We can bridge the distance, only we can make a difference, don’t you know that tears are not enough?
Canada, didn’t you listen to the song by the US? They’re the ones who make a better goddamn day, not you. Also, I’m not sure Canada has ever made a difference to anything, anywhere, ever.
UK: Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time.
I think I’ve got to hand it to the guys from across the sea. They don’t fuck around with their demands, they put it right on the table. Feed the entire world. They lose some points because I originally thought the lyric was “We the world”, but I’m not sure I can blame this on them.
Part 2: Amount Raised
Canada: 3.2 Million
US: 8 Million
UK: generically described as “millions”
Total raised – $15 – 20 million. Not too shabby!
Winner: US, but again: Net Worth of Michael Jackson in 1985. $163 Million.
Part 3: People involved who seem like an odd choice to be involved
USA: Dan Aykroyd?
Canada: Mike Reno (Loverboy)?
UK: Big Country?
Winner: Canada. Why the heck did they invite Dan Aykroyd?
Part 4: Quality of the song:
On the surface, this is a subjective choice, but it’s really not. It’s just science.
I’m giving the nod to Canada for this one, especially when Bryan Adams comes in all emotional near the end and goes “TEARS ARE NOT ENOUGH… YEAH!”. I feel his pain and I feel him hearing my pain. Do they know it’s Christmas was a little more upbeat and had that groovy chorus, but it just can’t compete with a bunch of relatively unknown Canadians singing their little hearts out.
The US song is the sonic equivalent of eating dog vomit.
Part 5: Who thought of this dumb idea first?
USA: March 7, 1985
Canada: May, 1985
UK: Dec 3, 1984
UK takes this one. I didn’t actually know the song came out at Christmas, but it makes a lot of sense. I thought that they were being generic, like “it’s basically like Christmas everywhere else, all the time, what with our ubiquitous health care and well-fed population and $2.50 happy meals.” but I guess they meant it literally.
Given that the majority religion in Africa is Islam, and Christmas is a Christian holiday, not only did they not know it was Christmas, they were probably kind of offended. Africa should release a song for the opiate crisis – “Do they know it’s Eid al-Adha at all?”
And the winner is..
Britain takes this one in a cakewalk. They came out first, they had Big Country… the deck was stacked in their favor from the start.