In 1985, just months after "We Are The World", ex-E Street guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt assembled an even-more-mindblowing lineup of musicians to record another protest song. The result: "Sun City", a finger-snapping, classic rapping musical missive against the Apartheid policies of the eponymous resort, created in the pseudo state of Bophuthatswana by the South African government to give white dudes a place to legally gamble and stare at boobs. Despite its incredible star wattage, the song never rose higher than #38 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but there are thousands of reasons why you should watch the music video. In the interest of time and sanity, here are a mere 50:
1. It's a good reminder of just how f'd up the world was a very short time ago.
2. Bono looks more serious than ever.
3. Bono's hair looks less serious than ever.
4. Sinead O'Connor has as much hair as Bono.
5. John Oates, filled with smoldering anger.
6. Trying to decide whether Peter Wolf from the J. Geils Band is a great dancer or a terrible one.
7. Little Steven is actually little.
8. It's infinitely more fun than "We Are The World". Just because it's a good cause doesn't mean you have to be cloyingly miserable.
9. The David Ruffin-to-Pat Benatar-to-Eddie Kendricks-to-Bruce Springsteen sequence will make your head explode with gratitude, especially the low-five exchange.
10. Joey Ramone takes home the Grammy for Best Use of the Term "Constructive Engagement" in a Pop Song.
11. Miles Davis appears despite busy schedule recording jazz versions of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" and Michael Jackson's "Human Nature".
12. There's an attractive woman in a bikini. Granted her pale breasts represent despicable racial entitlement, but hey, whattup sexy '80s lady?
13. At more than 7 minutes long, it will consume half of your workday.
14. Hot, steamy PW Botha action.
16. The keyboard breakdown sounds like "Axel F" from Beverly Hills Cop, giving you a bonus fuzzy feeling whilst remembering when Eddie Murphy was still funny.
17. Jackson Browne wears his button-down like a cholo.
18. Daryl Hannah sings with Jackson Browne and his cholo-like button-down, and sounds better than Bob Dylan (but not Daryl Hall).
19. What is the bald guy from Midnight Oil doing here? They weren't even popular yet...
20. Flip-up sunglasses are definitely happening, as transition lenses were still considered magic.
21. Ringo Starr and his 20yr-old son Zak Starkey play drums right next to each other (fact: Ringo had tried to steer Starkey towards law or medicine, proving you should follow your dreams, even if your dad's a nerd).
22. Afrika Bambaataa will give you the A's you never earned in school.
23. Clips of Sun City's gaming tables may help you pick up weird South African blackjack tips no one will ever see coming.
24. Bonnie Raitt looks exactly the same, meaning this video holds the secret of immortality.
25. Defiant '80s-graphics fists rising in unison!
26. Clarence Clemons never sounded better/bigger.
28. The African-language choruses don't include South Africa's most annoying instrument: the Upright Paul Simon.
29. Jonathan "Silence of the Lambs" Demme helped direct. You can see a proto "Buffalo Bill" in the character "Lou Reed".
30. Other directors Kevin Godley and Lol Creme also worked with The Police, and were credited with popularizing "LOL". Or at least Godley was -- quite a missed opportunity, Creme!
31. When it wasn't All You Can Eat for the Fat Boys, it was All You Can Do To Help Others in the Struggle for Justice.
32. Kurtis Blow doesn't.
34. You'll also find proof that Chinese fans are indeed cool.
35. Everybody dance now!
36. Bono kisses a Fat Boy.
37. Neither fans of Kangol hats nor French Foreign Legion caps will be disappointed.
38. Gil! Scott! Heron!... does not sing on this, but he does sing on another A.U.A.A. tune.
39. Instead of "Did you know Rubén Blades won 18% of the vote in his bid for the Panamanian presidency?", you'll be able to say "Did you know Rubén Blades sings?"
40. Little Steven brings in reggae singer Big Youth, testing the waters for an international supergroup called Little Steven and Big Youth.
41. Is that guy making fart noises? Oh, no, he's playing a drum.
42. Probably the squealiest Springsteen Squeal in recorded history.
43. It's entirely possible that, yes, that fat gentleman is Mark Gastineau.
44. The combination of original hip-hoppers trying to build bridges of peace through the spiritual expansion of the Zulu nation and John Oates really works, mostly because Oates doesn't sing much.
45. You will never again see a rapper named Duke Bootee.
46. Keith Richards stays in the background enough that you don't feel sorry for Ron Wood.
47. Mixing and engineering were handled by brothers Tom & Chris Lord-Alge, who between them gave "Higher Love" its height and the Rocky IV soundtrack its rockiness.
49. Because of this song (and maybe also Nelson Mandela/Desmond Tutu), artists of all colors can now play Sun City without contributing to the oppression of an entire people...
50. ...and whenever you play Gary Player's Lost City Golf Course, all you'll have to feel guilty about is pushing your partner in the 13th Hole water feature to be mauled by its 38 real-live alligators!
* Photo found on the pretty sweet music blog 30 Days Out
Published: October 16, 2012 at 3:00pm EDT
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