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Thread: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

   
  1. #46
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    Post Waylon Jennings

    Quote Originally Posted by 83magic View Post
    did that singer mention why he walked out?
    How Waylon Jennings Forever Changed “We Are The World"
    by Trigger | January 28, 2015 | Saving Country Music

    30 years ago today, one of the most recognized, appreciated, and parodied songs to ever grace the face of the earth was recorded at the A&M Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and recorded by some 45 musicians working under the charity supergroup called USA for Africa, “We Are The World” became became one of the biggest music singles ever released in history, and raised over $63 million dollars for African charities.

    When the call went out that USA for Africa was looking for celebrity musicians to participate in the session, the response was overwhelming. Some 50 performers had to be turned away because there just wasn’t enough room to feature all the performers who wanted to participate. Even though “We Are The World” was very much an incarnation of the pop world, country music was well represented. Some of the early studio work on the song had been done at Kenny Rogers’ studio, and Rogers was one of the core artists of the “We Are The World” recording process. Willie Nelson also showed up, and was featured with his own solo in the song. But Willie’s old friend from Texas, and one of the biggest names in country music at the time, would forever shape a key decision about “We Are The World” that could have significantly affected the song’s eventual success.

    If you watch the video for “We Are The World” or look at any of the pictures from the recording session, Waylon Jennings is nowhere to be found. That’s because even though he was selected to be one of the 45 artists to participate in the recording session, he walked out in a huff in a moment that would be the most controversial and contentious junctures in the song’s recording. This was despite Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles greeting all the performers as they arrived, and telling them to “check their egos” at the door, or they’d be “driving everyone home.”

    For days before January 28th, 1985, songwriters Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and producers Quincey Jones and Michael Omartain had consternated over each line in the song, making sure it couldn’t be interpreted wrongly or would leave the song open for criticism. Subtle changes were made in the lyrics to make sure nobody was offended, or the singers weren’t portraying themselves as being judgmental or off putting. A similar song from 1984, “Do The Know It’s Christmas?” had failed to garner the support “We Are The World” eventually did because of criticism of the song’s approach on numerous grounds. Hoping to avoid similar controversies, “We Are The World” was painstakingly vetted.

    But one artist out of them all was still not impressed with one of the key decisions about the song. When Stevie Wonder asserted that one of the lines should be sung in Swahili, Waylon Jennings raised a stink.

    Why exactly Waylon protested the inclusion of the Swahili line is not included in the annals of the recording session, but we do know that Waylon was not alone in his opposition. Other performers in the session saw his point and sided with the country star, but were subsequently overruled by the majority. So Waylon, the consummate and eternal Outlaw, walked out of what was arguably the most famous recording session in the history of the world.

    Some have used this Waylon Jennings moment to say that Waylon was being callous, or even racist. Remember, Waylon at the time was also the famous “Balladeer” on The Dukes of Hazzard TV show with its prominent Confederate Flag splayed across The General Lee. But if Waylon was being callous or racist, what had he volunteered his services to the a recording session benefiting Africa in the first place? Why would Waylon show such vehement and unpopular opposition to singing Swahili? Partly because he probably didn’t know how to sing in the language. Pitch issues had also bogged down the recording previously, when Waylon, Willie, Bruce Springsteen and others could not sing in the higher registers with the pop singers. Or it might have been because Waylon inherently knew having a line sung in another language might make “We Are The World” less marketable to America.

    But the story was not over. Waylon Jennings walking out shook the recording session, and the debate about the use of Swahili raged anew. Eventually a new majority prevailed and the Swahili idea was stricken down. Why? Because Swahili was not even spoken in Ethiopia and many of the other African country where that majority of the “We Are The World” aid was targeted to go. Swahili is mostly spoken in African countries like Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, south of Ethiopia. Stevie Wonder had secretly brought two Ethiopian women with him to the session to thank all of the participants at the end, and they weren’t Swahili speakers. So eventually the song went forward all in English—a decision that may have not only saved the recording session from bogging down in debate, but likely made the song that much more marketable and successful, and allowed it to become the super hit we know today.


    As for Waylon Jennings, though some reports say he never returned, others say he actually did return later to lend his voice to the chorus once he heard the Swahili line had been axed. Waylon had also sung numerous lines earlier in the session, before the Swahili issue presented itself, so when you listen to “We Are The World,” Waylon Jennings is probably in there somewhere. He’s also still listen in the credits of the song. But either way, Waylon’s decision and his hardline stance forever influenced a song that has since become an anthem to the world.

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  3. #47
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    Default Re: Do They Know It's Christmas

    Quote Originally Posted by DuranDuran View Post
    It has been criticized, including by some people singing on it, particularly the line "Thank God it's them instead of you". Anyway the purpose of the song and liking it musically are 2 different things. Billy Joel has said he doesn't like some of his own songs. I've read comments by lots of artists that said they don't like certain songs of theirs that became hits and dislike performing them. It's unlikely that singers/bands have liked every single thing they've recorded or released.
    Why did you reply to a post made over 10 years ago? We Are The World is a great song.

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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    Wouldn't expect everybody to like the song. There were elements bigger than every star in that room that were the reason for the creation of the song in the first place.

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    Default Re: Do They Know It's Christmas

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactus123 View Post
    Why did you reply to a post made over 10 years ago?
    Why not?

    I never got why some people always have to complain on forums about replies to old threads.
    Unless the topic is all done and eaten up, what's the problem if there's still things to add and further to discuss?

    Yea, you managed to realize that the thread is old. Well done, good eyes ...if that's what it's about.
    Last edited by Electro; 18-09-2019 at 02:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Do They Know It's Christmas

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactus123 View Post
    Why did you reply to a post made over 10 years ago?
    That's what I wanna know

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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    I wouldn't have seen this thread unless it was bumped. i'm glad it was because it brings the focus back to the music. we can never run out of things to discuss in regards to that.

    the 'sha-la, sha-lin-gay' was on Michael's demo, and eventually replaced with 'our world, our children'. here's footage of Michael explaining that part to the group. his voice was effortless here. just natural.

    the line 'taking our own lives' from Michael's demo was changed to 'saving our own lives' so not to be confused with suicide!

    this was my first time hearing about Waylon Jennings or him leaving. I was familiar with the rest of the story though. if i'm not mistaken ray Charles also had problems with the original lines. it's amazing how they were all able to come together and complete it. historical moment!

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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    Quote Originally Posted by Electro View Post
    Why not?

    I never got why some people always have to complain on forums about replies to old threads.
    Unless the topic is all done and eaten up, what's the problem if there's still things to add and further to discuss?

    Yea, you managed to realize that the thread is old. Well done, good eyes ...if that's what it's about.
    Because the person who's post was quoted hasn't posted on the forum in almost 10 years. He might not read the reply.

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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    Quote Originally Posted by Galactus123 View Post
    Because the person who's post was quoted hasn't posted on the forum in almost 10 years. He might not read the reply.
    That doesn't matter. Replies are made for everyone to read, not just for the person they're addressed to. That's why it's called a discussion forum. I don't think it's anyone's place to question why others write replies.....rather, let's just be grateful that they do. In addition, I personally like seeing old threads come to the top....particularly when they were started pre-2009. It's like opening a time capsule.

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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    I love we are the world. it's an beautiful song and very historic. this one of Michael times when he show his humanitarian work. i love this side of Michael a whole lot. what he did was good. bless him.



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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    I think it was good they told people if they didn't want to do the song to leave. i mean, why would i be there if i didn't want to do it? it's was mostly Michael song. he had a choice who and what he wanted with the song. what he did was good though. he help those children in Africa.



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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    I don't see the problem bumping old threads. i joined this year so i'm still sort of new here. we get new members everyday. so old and new threads will be bumped if there's no answer to it or people just want voice their opinions. i like to see others opinions old and new.



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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    I found out Michael actually wanted this to be for all the children in the world not just Africa. i don't know if this true or not but i read it somewhere.



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    Default Waylon Jennings

    Quote Originally Posted by NatureCriminal7896 View Post
    I think it was good they told people if they didn't want to do the song to leave. i mean, why would i be there if i didn't want to do it?
    Waylon wasn't told to leave, he walked out because he didn't like Stevie Wonder's Swahili idea which was not used anyway. Ray Charles didn't want to sing the Swahili part either. Everybody there volunteered to participate.

    Prince declined to sing but said he would do a guitar part, but Quincy Jones told him that wasn't needed.
    Prince got some bad press about this at the time because he went to a party while the song was being recorded and his bodyguard beat up a paparazzi trying to get in Prince's limo to take a picture. Billy Crystal did a skit on SNL as Prince singing I Am The World. Prince did have a separate song on the We Are The World album (which was shown on the Live Aid broadcast) and he wrote a song called Hello about this incident which was a B-side to one of his singles.


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    Default Re: Billy Joel Quote RE: We Are The World

    Wow. i didn't know prince actually help with the song. everywhere i go they say he didn't do it because it wasn't him and he wasn't apart of that kind of stuff at the time....



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    Default Prince & The Revolution / Northern Lights

    Quote Originally Posted by NatureCriminal7896 View Post
    Wow. i didn't know prince actually help with the song. everywhere i go they say he didn't do it because it wasn't him and he wasn't apart of that kind of stuff at the time....
    He didn't participate in the song. There was an entire We Are The World album with several artists individual songs and Prince & The Revolution contributed a song called 4 The Tears In Your Eyes. The album version is studio, but the video is a live version specially filmed for Live Aid. There is also another song on the album with a choir of Canadian singers (Northern Lights) called Tears Are Not Enough.






    Last edited by DuranDuran; 17-10-2019 at 04:00 AM.

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