A CLOSER LOOK AT INDIVIDUAL SINGLES FROM THE ALBUM...
AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 2
BEHIND THE TRACK
Around Thanksgiving in 1989 Elizabeth and I, along with some local friends, organised an event in Hollywood to feed and entertain with music some of the city’s many homeless.
Quite to our amazement it was a roaring success as much for the volunteers and musicians as for the people it was intended to serve.
There was a palpable joyfulness about the whole day which transformed our thinking and made us realise that we can all make a difference no matter how limited our resources might be and that together we can be a powerful force for good.
Thirty years on the brilliantly talented diane Vicari took our song and with the help of a whole team of volunteers created a film which expanded the original intent of our song and made it utterly contemporary. It compels us to take a hard look at the world around us and to be inspired in some way to help out.
With real time genuine footage from twelve NGOs which they donated for free she created a powerful statement about the horrific plight of refugees the world over, especially at this moment in the Ukraine.
She reminds us that America and Europe have always been a safe haven for ordinary people caught up in tragic events beyond their control. We are all refugees in some way. It’s up to each one of us to show our solidarity and our common humanity.
The lyric says ‘Oh just a castaway, Washed up on the shores of life. Even so you might just be an angel in disguise.’
So never close your heart or your door to a stranger in need of help - that stranger could be Jesus or Krishna or any other divinity you might believe in come to test your kindness and your humanity.
BEHIND THE TRACK
Rebel Heart is a sort of signature tune for WGR - a manifesto or a credo that change emanates from within. From inside the heart of each one of us.
The record starts with Elizabeth whispering 'World Goes Round' and the phrase is reprised later in the song - but this is no placid acceptance of the way things are. The opening line says 'There's a revolution going on under your nose - but all you see is your next move'
Slowly but surely a worldwide revolution of consciousness is taking place in the hearts of individual men and women. They see the big picture and the big issues of our world and they long for change even if our leaders don't.
Yet the misfits and individualists who think for themselves sometimes have to play along with the system in order to put food on their family's table and to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. History shows that it can be dangerous to speak your mind. And yet... One of the founding fathers said there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Sooner or later tyrants always fall and people progress a little further in their quest for freedom and justice. In our lifetimes we saw the Berlin Wall swept away by the sheer force of our human desire for liberty. It is part of our evolution and inevitable.
So don't judge someone by who you think they are. Appearances can be deceiving. You might find they have a rebel heart just like you. Be the change that you want to see and believe that eventually it will happen. And it surely will.
BEHIND THE TRACK
A bunch of ridiculously hedonistic people live it up in a big mansion up on a hill, while down below the world is burning and choking on filthy polluted air. Nero is fiddling while Rome burns. These hedonists, in their ‘Big House’, are carefree while the rest of the world suffers. ’So we do the dance - take it for granted, You tell the truth - they don’t understand it.’ After visiting the Amazon in Peru, Brazil and Venezuela, vocalist Frank Musker had seen first-hand the damage caused to the Amazon by the greed of the West. Hence the line ‘In the time it takes to sing this song, Another thousand acres will be gone.’ At the time ‘Big House’ was written, it was also a couple years before the Berlin Wall came down and the concerns of refugees fleeing from behind the Iron Curtain is also voiced in the song: ‘Well there’s a man in East Berlin, All he wants is a ticket on a westbound train.’
It is poignant that a song written three decades ago sheds light on precisely the same issues we face today - the refugee problem has only got worse, as has the vast destruction of the Amazon. In fact, it feels even more relevant now than it did then because of the likes of Extinction Rebellion, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg etc. Only now are people really starting to take note as these issues are in the mainstream of public and political debate. The song was written as a wake up call thirty years ago. It’s time to wake up now.
BEHIND THE TRACK
Bruce Springsteen once remarked that all the best rock tunes are ultimately based on We Gotta Get Outa This Place by the legendary Eric Burdon and the Animals.
The classic Born to Run was the perfect example of that deep rooted desire to escape a life which is going nowhere. It speaks of the rock and roll dream of getting on a motorcycle, tearing off into the sunset and never looking back.
In the case of Round the World the song deals with an escape from a negative relationship which is going nowhere. But it's written from a more optimistic perspective - that a new love has brought new hope for a better future.
Making that final break with the past and setting of to find the big beautiful world that's out there waiting to be discovered and experienced is the theme of the sunny light filled chorus.
It swells the heart with positivity, warmth and the hope that people all over the world want the same things - love, freedom, joy, adventure and fulfilment.
After all the unprecedented trauma and fear of Covid 19 and the worldwide restrictions of lockdown this song looks forward to a time when it's okay to dream of travelling again - taking to the road and embracing this precious life in all it's beauty.
BEHIND THE TRACK
Put it on the Line is a song about overcoming fear and self doubt - emotions common to every single one of us.
It is dedicated to all the ordinary every day heroes everywhere who put themselves on the line and in harm's way each and every day for us - the ones who just turn up come what may and do their duty whatever the cost.
Here's to the nurses, the doctors, the health workers, the firemen, the soldiers and to all those who daily overcome resistance and their own perceived limitations. There are no limits to your heroism and to what you can achieve.
We salute you.