More Of MisenPOPic!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out There!: "Tears Are Not Enough" by Northern Lights

It's the 25th anniversary of We Are The World, and we are going to be treated to a brand new version in a few days. It's also the 25th anniversary of Tears Are Not Enough, the charity single recorded exclusively by Northern Lights, a supergroup of Canadian rock stars shunned from the We Are The World single because they weren't true U.S. citizens. Think there is any chance of an updated version featuring the Canadian pop stars of today? I doubt it! Any of you out there remember this song? Maybe, maybe not? The song was pretty catchy and unique for it's time and it just might be argued that the song was actually a better-written and catchier tune than We Are The World.

Recorded February 10th, 1985 in Toronto, Tears Are Not Enough was written by group of writers including David Foster, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, and Bob Rock. The actual idea to bring together Canadians to record their own single to aid Africa came from Bruce Allen, manager of Canadian musicians including Bryan Adams, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and Michael Buble. The tune would eventually end up on the USA For Africa album, raising 3.2 million dollars for African famine relief projects with ten percent taken out to assist Canadian food banks. The video got a decent amount of airplay on Much Music in Canada, and although never charting in the U.S., the song was an obvious smash in Canada quickly reaching #1 on the Canadian Top 40 Chart.

Just like USA For Africa including the cream of the crop of U.S. born musicians of the 80's, Northern Lights spared no expense bringing in many of the best-known Canadian artists of that era. Take a look at the big names who recorded solo parts: Gordon Lightfoot (legendary singer/songwriter from the 70's best known for classics like Sundown and If You Could Read My Mind), Burton Cummings (lead singer/keyboardist from The Guess Who whose only solo hit, Stand Tall, is ranked as one of the worst 50 songs of all time in my estimation), Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Dan Hill (Adult Contemporary star of the 70's and 80's best known for his AM classic Every Time We Touch), Neil Young (who got shit from the producers for not singing in key even though that is what he's known for. Yet another reason I think he is overrated), Bryan Adams, Mike Reno (lead singer of Loverboy and the poster boy for rock & roll headbands), Corey Hart (the mushmouth singer best known for Sunglasses At Night which I truly believe is one of the ten best songs recorded in the 80's), Bruce Cockburn, and Geddy Lee (vocalist/bassist for legendary rock group and R&R Hall Of Fame snubbed band, Rush)

Also in the background were Paul Anka who I'm shocked didn't get a solo, Tom Cochrane from Rough Rider who later would pen the classic tune Life Is A Highway, Canadian actors John Candy and Eugeny Levy (the face of the American Pie movie franchise only because it's an easy paycheck), Catherine O'Hara (the mom from Home Alone), Paul Shaffer (yes that Paul Shaffer best known as the band leader for David Letterman), and Frank Mills (best known for the piano classic, Music Box Dancer). Even Canada's prodigal son Wayne Gretzky appeared at the end of the video appearing to sing along.

I'm crossing my fingers for an update of this song. Let's get Bryan Adams, Chad Kroeger, The Barenaked Ladies, Geddy Lee, Avril Lavigne, the guys from Sum 41, and Paul Anka involved. Hell, let's even resurrect Corey Hart's career and bring him along for the ride! We must not forget about our Canadian brothers and sisters. Not only can they chip in more dough, but maybe they can even contribute some of the proceeds to the United States for a better health care plan like they have? Eh?

We can bridge the distance, Only we can make the difference, Don't you know that tears are not enough?


  1. I hadn't heard this one before, although I still have "Stars" on cassette. Gotta love some of the hairdos in these.

    Why is Geddy Lee's voice so over-processed?

    Just a note - Tom Cochrane was in *Red* Rider.

  2. Yeah I wrote fast sometime and make errors and miss when I edit. I know Cochrane was in Red Rider. Thanks for the correction!

    If you really want to hear an overprocessed Geddy Lee, check out Take Off from the McKenzie Brothers. :)

    Neil Young looks "off" for some reason in this video.