Price paid: $3
Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY
The was a time back in the 80s when any world problem or disaster could be dealt with by simply throwing a bunch of A and B-list musical celebrities in a room and letting them work their magic. Today’s musicians are a bunch of narcissistic pussies in comparison.
Band Aid and Farm Aid are probably two of the best known of these ‘charity supergroup’ ventures, but they’re far from the only such arrangements. Most if not all are typified by a bevy of bloated egos hamming it up in a way that often comes across as little more than self-serving grandstanding. I’m sure a vast majority have their hearts in the right place, but the output of these creative endeavors is lackluster- and usually so laughably cheesy- that odds are they would have seen no sales at all had big names not been involved.
And so we come to Ferry Aid’s cover of the Beatles’ ‘Let it Be’, a waterlogged bloated mess as disastrous as the tragedy it was born to mend*. In March of 1987 the ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized, killing 193 passengers and crew in what became known as the ‘Zeebrugge Disaster.’ British newspaper The Sun (who may have been feeling guilty about the whole affair, as many of those on board had purchased cheap trips through that publication) worked with producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman to assemble artists for the cause, the result was this single which was recorded over a three day period mere weeks after the incident.
To its credit it did reach #1 in both the UK (for three weeks straight), Norwegian, and Swiss charts- and selling over half a million copies worldwide.
It should come as no surprise at all that the song itself is a dire affair. The unintentionally humorous video really drives home the pompous bloated self-importance of many involved. Notable New Wave artists appearing on the disc include Boy George, Bananarama, Kate Bush, and Steve Strange (of Visage.)
The sleeve is serviceable. It certainly won’t win any design awards (at least yet- who knows?), but gets the job done and is certainly not lacking in information. Although ugly, fairly common, and inexpensive (hell, they made 500,000 of them!) a nice little pickup if you’re a Kate Bush or Boy George completest… or would like a slice of history from the early days of the charity record phenomenon.
*It’s been like 27 years now so I think a little levity is acceptable?