This 1985 hit song 'Show Some Concern' highlights that music can be a force for good in Ireland, but can you name the celebrities who were in it?
Music for good
Music and journalism woke the world up in the mid-80s to the desperate needs of a people starving and dying from famine in East Africa. A deeply harrowing report from Korem, Ethiopia on the BBC 9 O’Clock news on October 23 1984 by British reporter Michael Buerk and Kenyan cameraman Mohammed Amin grabbed the attention of the planet and inspired Band Aid, which unleashed the untapped power of rock ‘n’ roll.
Band Aid catapulted levels of funding and support for aid organisations like Concern as they desperately tried to stop children from dying from malnutrition and disease.
Other charity supergroups formed around the world to mirror the great efforts of Band Aid and one of the first was here in Ireland and it was the brainchild of the late RTE broadcaster Gerry Ryan and Mark Venner, the then manager of new wave band The Blades.
‘Show Some Concern’
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They formed The Concerned, made up of over fifty Irish musicians and broadcasters, including singers Christy Moore, Mary Black, Freddie White, Linda Martin and Maura O’Connell. Many of Gerry Ryan’s RTE colleagues also sang in the group, including Pat Kenny, Dave Fanning, Barry Land and Maxi. Irish bands like Clannad, The Blades, Stockton’s Wing, Toy with Rhythm, Golden Horde and Sligo group Those Nervous Animals assembled for the recording.
They recorded ‘Show Some Concern’, which would become a catchy anthem of its time, written by Paul Cleary and produced by Bill Whelan, All proceeds from the hit tune went to Concern to aid famine relief in Ethiopia and Sudan.
The stars gathered at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin for the recording, where they were greeted and helped by Concern staff, including its then chief executive, the late Fr. Aengus Finucane. In the video, Fr. Finucane told those assembled how important fundraising efforts from well-known personalities were, when he said: “We need inputs like this. We need them. They need them.”
When it was released on March 17, Show Some Concern shot straight to number one in the Irish charts and remained there for three weeks. It was beating acts like Madonna, Phil Collins and Prince, but was finally topped by the worldwide hit charity single ‘We are the World’ by the Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie-led supergroup USA for Africa.
Remembering The Concerned 32 years on
This great song eventually faded into obscurity until a clip from its video was included in the 1985 episode of RTE’s nostalgic TV series Reeling in the Years. Thanks to RTE, Concern was able to retrieve the video and make it available on our online channels again today - to honour and remember this incredible initiative, along with the general Irish public who gave so much to fund relief work.
Other charity singles and concerts happened for a variety of causes, including Self Aid in Dublin in 1986 to highlight the chronic unemployment problem in Ireland at the time.
The Concerned, Band Aid, Live Aid - all of these incredible and creative projects united citizens of all countries through one shared purpose. People like Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Gerry Ryan all showed that the Earth can be one village community.
They made more people than ever before aware of the human catastrophe happening in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa at the time – and raised massive amounts in funding too. With songs like ‘We are the World’, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ and ‘Show Some Concern’, they created anthems of good and for change.
We thank them and all who bought their music, went to the concerts and who continue to support charities like Concern as they continue their mission to create a just, equal and united world free from poverty and suffering.
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