We Are Family, the disco music classic that the WHO wants to turn into a universal anthem against the coronavirus

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The issue, published in 1978, is the axis of a call to join voices from around the world to obtain funds to fight the disease.

Little could I imagine the American soul and disco quartet Sister Sledge that the fraternal dimension of his great success We Are Family would one day serve as a song of global unity in the face of the pandemic of a new disease, Covid-19, which 40 years later would cloister a good part of the planet.

At least that’s the wish of the World Health Organization (WHO), which this week started a campaign to ask people everywhere to be recorded singing this classic, including some famous people, and that the profits obtained from their exploitation are used to fight the disease.

“It is the perfect song so that we unite like a family”, argued in the announcement of this initiative the own Kim Sledge. Together with his sisters Debbie, Joni and Kathy, he managed to make this musical theme from the late 70s of the last century No. 1 on the Official R&B Song Chart and 2 on the pop list (they didn’t get 1 because of the hit Hot Stuff de Donna Summer).

The funny thing is that before getting such an impact, the sisters they had considered abandoning music and dedicate himself to studying law. However, they would go on to publish ten studio albums until their last release, Style (2003).

Recorded in 1978 and released in April of the following year, We Are Family was the first topic that Nile Rodgers y Bernard Edwards they composed to order, to expand their talents as musical geniuses beyond your chic band.

Already then responsible for successes such as Le Freak The Good Times, the couple decided that they preferred to take on this first commission at the service of an artist who would not overshadow with his name the importance of their contribution as composers to a possible success.

Thus the name of Sister Sledge was put on the table, a very young quartet made up of four sisters from philadelphia (United States), who had released the albums Circle of Love (1975) and Together (1977), with whom they had obtained very moderate attention.

His greatest success so far had been the subject Love don’t you go through no changes on me (ranked 31st on the Hot R & B / Soul song chart).

As revealed by Rodgers, the origin of We Are Family It couldn’t be easier, because they wrote a very basic letter Using what the then president of Atlantic Records, Jerry L. Greenberg, had told them about the intended quartet of the future song: roughly, they were four sisters dedicated to disco music.

On that letter they composed a melody that knew how to overcome fashions and, transcending the royal affiliation that existed among its original interpreters, become a universal song of exaltation of brotherhood among human beings.

Thus, in 2001 it was already re-recorded by Nile Rodgers himself. after the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States, giving rise to a solidarity organization baptized precisely as We Are Family Foundation, which has since been proposed to alleviate hunger and promote education in the world for the promotion of peace.

Just a year later, the co-author of other topics such as Let’s Dance, of David Bowie, The Like a Virgin, of Madonna, produced a new version, in this case played by children’s characters like SpongeBob to promote diversity and tolerance. Paradoxically, this aroused the ire of religious groups who recriminated the “homosexual” background of this underwater character.

Malleable regardless of the ideological feeling of the person who sings it, contributed to the Oscar for Best Soundtrack of a comedy with a working-class and social background as Full Monty (1997) which was used in 2006 as a political anthem in the campaign of the Christian Democratic party of the former Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, who endorsed the phrase “We are family” as an electoral slogan.

It may be that after the death in 2018 of Joni Sledge, one of the members of the group, for them that verse that he says will not take on all meaning “we are a family, I have all my sisters with me”, but it is undeniable at this point that for the rest of the world We Are Family it will never lose its character as a collective party and a call to unity.

Source: EFE – Javier Herrero

E.S.

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