Radiohead, Coldplay, Keane, Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs were among the twenty-two British artists who recorded a track yesterday for Help: A Day in the Life, a downloadable album benefiting young people in war-torn areas around the world.
The album, released today via warchildmusic.com, was organized to coincide with the ten-year anniversary of the organization's original Help album, which featured tracks from Brit stars such as Blur, Oasis and, yes, Radiohead. More than two million dollars were raised by that release, and this year's cast is hoping A Day in the Life -- which specifically aids children in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Congo and Yugoslavia -- will achieve similar totals.
"It's great to be able to do something other than just pay lip service," Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes told Rolling Stone last night from a tour stop in Boston. "It's such a good cause. You don't say no to things like that. You just say, 'How? Where? When?'" The band wrote their contribution, "The Present," while on tour in Japan during the Christmas season. "It's sort of a message from us to our loved ones," Moakes said, "talking about how life is right now for us and how things won't always be the way they are right now."
Kaiser Chiefs awoke early yesterday morning in Germany to lay down their version of the Marvin Gaye classic "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" for the project. "It went brilliant," drummer Nick Hodgson said after the band's Berlin show last night. "It's garage-y and funky. It sounds like the Slits [mixed with] the Happy Mondays, the Rapture and . . . Kaiser Chiefs."
Keane also contributed a cover, teaming with dance artist Faultline for Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," while Radiohead offered the original, "I Want None of This."
Help: A Day in the Life can be downloaded for about eighteen dollars, but visitors to the War Child Music Web site will also be able to buy each track individually. Hodgson is planning to hit the site today to purchase his own contribution. "I'm going to download it," he said. "It'll be the first time we've heard it."
The track listing for Help: A Day in the Life:
"I Want None of This," Radiohead
"It Was Nothing," The Coral
"Hello Conscience," The Zutons
"Gone Are the Days," The Magic Numbers
"Wasteland," Maximo Park
"Phantom Broadcast," The Go! Team
"Gua," Emmanuel Jal
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Keane and Faultline
"I Heard it Through The Grapevine," Kaiser Chiefs
"The Present," Bloc Party
"Help Me Please," Hard-Fi
"The Eighth Station Of The Cross Kebab House," Belle and Sebastian
"Cler Achel," Tinariwen
"Happy Xmas, War Is Over," Antony and the Johnsons
"Hong Kong," Gorillaz
"From Bollywood to Battersea," Babyshambles
"Leviathan," Manic Street Preachers
"Kirby's House," Razorlight
"Cross-eyed Bear," Damien Rice
"Mars Needs Women," Mylo
"How You See The World No. 2," Coldplay