«Sttill here in 2018» comments on YouTube Harronmionny. There are pieces of music that seem written with a pervasive force that recalls the ability of melted wax to take root on sackcloth. They are songs that remain glued to the memory. Sometimes they start from a musical research, other times simply from a popular idea, but often without any pretension they are transported into the cultural and musical history of humanity, and remain there forever. Everyone can clearly draw up their own ranking, but some become part of the collective memory, and they are the ones that go beyond any genre peculiarity, and whose beauty and importance we end up appreciating beyond the fact that maybe they are far away our musical tastes. “Imagine”, “Hotel California”, but also “Over the rainbow” come to mind. Classical songs like “Nessun dorma”, or jazz like “What a wonderful world” by the great Armstrong. And even the most popular ones such as “Azzurro” by Celentano, or “Volare” by Modugno, of which we purposely mention the remembered title and not the real one. They are notes that are there, in the maze of memory, for years almost dormant, then suddenly, rekindled by a radio performance, they return to bring us face to face with a cascade of erased memories and so strong as to make Proust’s “Madeleine” pale.
THE UNIVERSAL ANTHEM OF SOLIDARITY. Very difficult to choose “the song”, and perhaps even make a ranking, but many are impossible not to recognize, if you have lived even for a while ‘in the vicinity of any sound device. The reasons why this happens are various, and often it is not due to any consideration of an aesthetic nature, but occurs thanks to a magical and wise refrain that attaches itself to the cerebral cortex and never goes away. This is the case of “We are the world”, a song whose thirty-third birthday is celebrated today. The song was born in 1985 from an idea of the king of Caribbean music, Harry Belafonte, a personality who has always been at the forefront of human rights and humanitarian causes. At the suggestion of his manager, he proposed to involve other singers to gather a “star” cast and record a song, the proceeds of which could be destined for the Ethiopian population affected by a serious food shortage. The call was answered by countless stars of the American music scene. All in the wake of a similar event from the previous year, the single project “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” made by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure with Band Aid. To take care of the music and the lyrics were the then twenty-seven year old Michael Jackson, who rose to prominence with Thriller, and Lionel Richie. Quincy Jones, acting as producer for Columbia Records, covered all expenses and arranged for the song to be recorded. The appointment was set for 9 pm on January 28, the same night as the American Music Awards, at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood. Here little by little stars of the caliber of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen gathered. In all 45 artists who alternated between soloists and choir voices. Only three journalists from Life magazine were admitted with them. The recording went on throughout the night, and after twelve hours spent in the recording room, the track that would become the universal anthem of solidarity came out.
A LITTLE ITALIAN TRACK. As a single it sold a total of 7.5 million copies in the United States alone, and USA for Africa’s subsequent album “We Are the World”, on which it was included together with the song “Tears Are Not Enough”, reached the 3 million mark . In this splendid adventure, which we imagine to be of great cordiality and fun, because it must be extraordinary to do what one loves most thinking of bringing concrete help to others, only American artists found themselves participating, apart from the Canadian Dan Aykroid, and the Irishman Bob Geldof, the only member of Band Aid from the previous year. A trace of Italian solidarity can be found in the name of a strange participant in the USA for Africa with a very famous Italian name: Mario Cipollina. This is the bassist of Huey Lewis and the News, another legendary group of the roaring eighties, which according to some remain the years of extraordinary creative fertility of the musical panorama. Mario was the younger brother of a great guitarist, Giovanni, known as John Cipollina, and on his brother’s path he began to love music as a child and was particularly struck by the sound of the bass. After the experience of classical music he began to appreciate rock and became one of the best known and most appreciated bassists on the American market, eventually collaborating with other historical names such as Frank Zappa, Chick Corea, Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin, as well as the Huey group Lewis which gave him great popularity. The strange thing is that Mario, with his typical Italian face, didn’t play bass that night, but like so many others he only put his voice at the service of the chorus of a song that would become a cause and a point of reference. In Italy to tell the truth, to close the nostalgia operation, where in addition to solidarity we are famous for irony, a parody of “We Are The World” was released performed by Squallor and entitled “Usa for Italy”, contained in the album “Touch the apricot”. But the strength of some songs always remains the same, especially if it serves to make aid concrete and to give a feeling of participation and belonging to humanity, and the emotions that the generation of the eighties cultivated, growing up with music, are rekindled with simplicity every time those notes dance in the air.