Forgotten Crowded House Song Helping Refugees
Songs can grow and assume new shapes with time, and pop’s power to engage people has taken Crowded House’s 16-year-old ballad Help is Coming and given it new life as a charitable ode to refugees.
Greek Cypriot-British journalist and broadcaster Pete Paphides writes in a Guardian feature that Help is Coming was the song that came into his head, as footage of Syrian refugees alighting dinghies played out in front of him.
“The following day, I contacted Finn and friends at The Vinyl Factory and asked them if they would produce a vinyl version of Help is Coming, with proceeds going to Save the Children. Since then, it’s hard to comprehend the chain of events that has – via Mat Whitecross’s extraordinary accompanying film – seen the song gain a worldwide release,” Paphides continues.
“In the past five days, together with my wife Caitlin Moran, I’ve taken this song and lobbied iTunes and Universal for its reissue. Every day seems more surreal than the previous one. I’ve received emails from Stella Creasy MP pledging to try to get the Vat removed from sales of the song. Benedict Cumberbatch has filmed an introduction to Mat’s accompanying film and, after his performances as Hamlet at the Barbican in London this week, he has been collecting donations in a bucket. The hourly dispatches keep coming. Last night, I received a text telling me that iTunes has made Help is Coming a “worldwide priority”. I could have spent years campaigning, trying and failing to achieve what it looks like this song – a song that lay dormant on a near-forgotten album for 16 years – will do in just a few hours.
“Of course, it shouldn’t take a pop song to emotionally engage people with the plight of those less fortunate than themselves. But there is another way of looking at this. Isn’t it miraculous that a pop song has the power to do that at all?”
Original article by Pete Paphides, The Guardian, September 11, 2015.
Photo by Ilpo Musto/Rex Shutterstock.