A record made by Canadian pop stars for the benefit of Ethiopian famine victims could raise as much as $10-million, the project's organizers said yesterday at a press conference. Rock managers Bruce Allen and Lou Blair, who oversaw the project that brought together 52 Canadian performers including Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot, said the money will be held in trust by a non-profit charitable society while a board of trustees decides how it will be distributed.
At the press conference, only two performers were present from the recording session - Burton Cummings and Murray McLauchlan - and both described the event as friendly and remarkably smooth. (A sign inside the studio said: "Please check your egos at the door.") Cummings said the recording session - which went from noon Sunday until 2:30 a.m. Monday - was "a patch quilt of Canadian musical history."
McLauchlan described how a woman representing Ethiopia, Ainailem Tebeje, addressed the assembled at the beginning of Sunday's session, which ended as she broke down in tears.
The press was shown a roughly edited video of the performers milling about in the studio, and organizers played a tape of the song, which is called Tears Are Not Enough. The best-known stars sing te lines in the verse, and the rest of the performers help out on the chorus.
The furst nine lines are sung consecutively by Gordon Lightfoot, Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Dan Hill, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Mike Reno of Loverboy and Liberty Silver. All nine sing the first chorus, and the next group of singers takes its turn. There is one verse in French, and producer David Foster said the verse sung by Canadian stars of the National Hockey League will be added "because Canada is hockey and hockey is Canada." The hockey stars will record their bit today in Calgary. As well, a line by Bruce Cockburn, who could not make the taping because he was on tour in Eastern Europe, will be inserted later.
Bernie DiMatteo, president of CBS Records, which will distribute the record, said the 7-inch version should retail for $ 2.49, and the 12-inch disc for $ 5.98, and he warned against retailers who charge more. (Some stores have overcharged for the Band-Aid single - put out by English pop stars for the same cause - and have kept the profits.) DiMatteo also said he expects sales to surpass those of the Band-Aid single, which has sold 170,000 copies in Canada (the 12-inch single has sold an additional 40,000-50,000 copies). There are tentative plans to release the song internationally, and to include it on an American benefit album, produced by Quincy Jones.
The Canadian project goes under the name Northern Lights For Africa (NLA), which is a non-profit society registered in British Columbia. The NLA's eight-member board of trustees promises an "open book" policy regarding the distribution of funds raised by the record, video and sales of T-shirts, posters, calendars and pictures. There also will be a separate advisory board which will be in charge of working with other charitable organizations and the federal Government.
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