DEAR JERRY: Around the time of Britain's "Do They Know It's Christmas" and our "We Are the World," I heard a Canadian entry in the charitable causes category.
It may have been played on a Windsor (Canada) station, as they also serve the Detroit metro area. Regardless, I never heard it again.
Most memorable is that Gordon Lightfoot was featured prominently, and he's a favorite of mine. The other voices I could not identify.
What is this recording, and are there any other Canadians on it who, like Lightfoot, made it big in the USA?
Judy Gromewald, Detroit
DEAR JUDY: What you heard, but probably couldn't see that far south, was the Northern Lights.
Northern Lights is the name of a star-studded ensemble of 61 Canadian artists, whose one-off single is "Tears Are Not Enough" (Columbia 7BEN-7073). On side two is an instrumental version of "Tears Are Not Enough," by David Foster.
Issued in early 1985, it was inspired by "Do They Know It's Christmas," from the UK's Band Aid, and "We Are the World," the stateside gathering named USA for Africa. Like those, "Tears Are Not Enough" joined the fight against famine in Africa.
According to the accompanying title sleeve, "All profits realized by CBS Records Canada Ltd. from the sale of "Tears Are Not Enough" will be contributed to the Northern Lights For Africa (Society)."
David Foster, Bryan Adams, and Jim Vallance wrote the lyrics, and Foster penned the music. Paul Hyde and Bob Rock are credited for coming up with the title.
This being Canada, a francophonie version was also in the plan, and the French lyrics were provided by Jim Vallance's wife, Rachel Paiement.
Possessing first-class linguistic skills has a lot to do with why Rachel Paiement is the only Northern Lights member to also join the Fondation Québec-Afrique team, another charitable collaborative. More on them in a moment.
All 10 of the "Tears Are Not Enough" soloists achieved significant success in the U.S. and Canada, and they are:
Anne Murray; Bruce Cockburn; Bryan Adams; Burton Cummings; Corey Hart; Dan Hill; Geddy Lee (Rush); Gordon Lightfoot; Joni Mitchell; and Neil Young. Besides the soloists, there are 19 others featured on the session who charted in the U.S. Those who are often associated with a band will be so noted: Aldo Nova; Andy Kim; Carole Pope (Rough Trade); Carroll Baker; David Foster; Donny Gerrard (Skylark); Frank Mills; Ian Tyson (Ian & Sylvia); Kim Mitchell; Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde); Martha Johnson (Martha and the Muffins); Mike Reno (Loverboy); Oscar Peterson; Paul Shaffer; Richard Manuel (The Band); Ronnie Hawkins; Sylvia Tyson (Ian & Sylvia); Tom Cochrane (Red Rider); and Tommy Hunter.
Most of the 32 remaining contributors were successful recording artists, but primarily in Canada:
Alfie Zappacosta; Baron Longfellow; Bob Rock; Brian Good (The Good Brothers); Bruce Murray; Catherine O'Hara; Claude Dubois; Colina Phillips; David Sinclair (Body Electric); Doug Johnson (Loverboy); Eugene Levy (The Shmenges Brothers); Gordon Deppe (Spoons); Graham Shaw (The Sincere Serenaders); Jane Siberry; Jim Vallance; John Candy (The Shmenges Brothers); Leroy Sibbles; Liberty Silver; Liona Boyd; Lisa Dalbello; Lorraine Segato (The Parachute Club); Marc Jordan; Murray McLauchlan; Paul Dean; Paul Hyde (The Payola$); Rachel Paiement (Cano); Robert Charlebois; Robin Duke; Salome Bey; Sharon Lee Williams; Véronique Béliveau; and Wayne St. John.
Although their comedy albums were not big sellers, Eugene Levy and John Candy went on to huge success in the U.S. as comedic actors, and indeed, the Shmenges Brothers was seen here on SCTV.
Just a few weeks after "Tears Are Not Enough" reached No. 1 in Canada, a new French language record came out by Fondation Québec-Afrique, titled "Les Yeux De La Faim" (The Eyes of Hunger).
Written by Gil Courtemanche and Jean Robitaille, this was another charitable project one headlined by renown superstar Celine Dion.
Joining Celine and Fondation Québec-Afrique are 39 revered Francophone artists: Belgazou; Claude Gauthier; Claude Léveillé; Daniel Lavoie; Diane Juster; Dominique Michel; Donald Lautrec; François Cousineau; Gilles Vigneault; Jacques Boulanger; Jacques Michel; Jean-Guy Moreau; Jean-Pierre Ferland; Louise Forestier; Louise Portal; Marie-Michèle Desrosiers; Marjo; Martine Chevrier; Martine St-Clair; Michel Lemieux; Michel Louvain; Michel Rivard; Nanette Workman; Nathalie Simard; Nicole Martin; Normand Brathwaite; Patsy Gallant; Peter Pringle; Pierre Bertrand; Pierre Lalonde; Rachel Paiement; René Simard; Renée Claude; Robert Leroux; Sylvain Lelièvre; Sylvie Tremblay; Toulouse; Véronique Béliveau; and Yvon Deschamps.
As with "Tears Are Not Enough," side two of "Les Yeux De La Faim" is an instrumental version of the side one vocal.
Of course "Les Yeux De La Faim" was very popular in Quebec, but got little exposure in other provinces.
IZ ZAT SO? "Les Yeux De La Faim" came out as a 4:25 seven-inch single (Kébec-Disc KD-1985), and a 5:53 extended version, 12-inch single (Kébec-Disc KD-12-1985). Each format came with an informative picture sleeve, all in French.
As a bonus, "Les Yeux De La Faim" and "Tears Are Not Enough" both included a sleeve or insert with the printed signatures of each of the many participants, making for a nice collectible that is now valued at 20 to 40 U.S. or Canadian dollars.