"Beds'r Burnin:" the New Green "We Are the World"
Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett, now Australia's Minister of the Environment. Photo by mushroom and rooster via Flickr
Hands across the globe everybody, sing along: "The time has come/a fact's a fact/It belongs to us all/Let's give it back." The 1987 Midnight Oil hit, "Beds are Burning" has been tweaked and re-recorded by 55 artists to be released October 1, when it will be available for free downloading. No doubt, the video will be on YouTube. Duran Duran, Bob Geldof ("Live Aid" organizer and former Boomtown Rat reprises his "Do They Know It's Christmas" idea), The Scorpions, and others revisit the '80s to call attention to climate change.
Besides the British, Irish and German rockers, other international participants in this sing-along include Marion Cotillard (Oscar-winning French actress for her role as Edith Piaf), Senegalese superstar Youssou N'Dour, Chinese singer Khalil Fong, and Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Part of a media campaign, proposed by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum and headed by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, to get everyone singing the same tune at December's Copenhagen summit on climate change.
The former lead singer of The Oil, Peter Garrett, isn't singing along, but he supports the cause. In fact, he reworded a version with a more environmental message for the recording and even changed the title a touch. The original lyrics were about giving native lands back to the Pintupi, who were forcibly moved from the 1930s to the '60s by the Australian government to other settlements. Garret is Australia's Minister of the Environment, Heritage and the Arts and also served as South Wales' House of Representatives.
Could've been Duran Duran's "Planet Earth"
Silliness, some say. But considering the dearth of a decent eco-anthem, this classic track could sound good. A bunch have tried to sing about it, including Madonna, who did a rather pathetic theme for the televised Live Earth concerts. Miley Cyrus attempts to rally the tween crowd, Neil Young crooned about his fuel-free vehicle, Marvin Gaye sang about ecology in the '70s, and Corey Feldman...well, whatever. Michael Jackson did hit it with "Earth Song" but he's no longer with us to even sing along with this latest supergroup.
But will Congress and the COP15 conference chime in with, "How can we dance when our earth is turning?"