Lifestyle

Numbers of the Beast

Published On 10/16/2012 Published On 10/16/2012

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

15. Run-DMC

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

27. Welcome to the Nona Hendryx rabbit hole. Enjoy the slide.
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

33. It proves that if Finnish glam-metal god Michael Monroe didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent him

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

48. Grandmaster Melle Mel > Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov

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

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