This is the Holy Grail of the Dollar Bin. For years, I have been looking for this on Amazon, E-Bay and troll-lurking used record stores. Shit, finding the image on Google was a bitch. Released in 1986, this was the antidote for the touchy feely “We Are The World.”
In 1985 someone in Sperry topsiders invited me to an Anti-Apatheid Rally in East St. Louis. Being from California, I assumed it was some Cesar Chavez save the farmer’s kind of thing.
Yes, I assumed Apartheid was something our government was spraying on poor farmers.
I was right.
Of course, Apartheid was the repression of the black majority in South Africa.
Unlike ‘We Are the World” there was no gutless music and lyrics (Sorry Quincy) . Rather than the ultra positive, “We Are the World” that spawned countless self-important imitiations; Sun City was tough, simple and poignant. Unlike, “We Are The World” it actually invited artists FROM Africa to participate. Written by Little Steven (for the Old Folks: the guy with bandanna from the “E-Street Band,” for the young ... he was on the Sopranos”) the lyrics are straight to the stiletto point.
"We ain’t gonna play Sun City."
In a Reagan world where Rap was a New Ghetto Thang and the Punk had been reduced to a haircut, the ragtag Run DMC, Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen, Joey Ramone, Afrika Bambaattaa, Miles Davis, Pete Townsend, George Clinton and Jimmy Cliff made a united front. A bunch of guys who, at that time, weren’t even allowed to share the same chart on the back page of Rolling Stone. A young suburban kid got the message and felt some of the pain. It was the first time for me that rap meant more than grabbing your dick.
A group protest song that was not something to listen to. It was something to get angry about.
I tried to impress girls with my sensitivity with “We Are the World”
I needed to get something done when I heard “Sun City”
To this day, it is the only “Mega artist” collaboration that was a part of eliminating the problem. It raised my awareness. I became a part of it.
I am sure there is still racism, but there is no more apartheid. Farm-Aid is still around. People are still starving in Africa. AIDS is still available.
I just braved the 95 Degrees here in Studio City California to go vote. I just realized a friend of mine from high school is running for my congressional district on the Green Party. Odd because we both went to highschool in St. Louis. So if you are the Mighty 28th district, Vote for Byron Delear and send Howard Berman packing. He's one of "them"
Naturally I wanted to see how my pal was doing, so I check the the local Fox11.com website.