As Gal Gadot's merry band of quarantined superstars are (rightly) mocked for their cover of "Imagine," Chris Lochery remembers other off-key superstar sing-a-longsby Chris Lochery / March 20, 2020 / Leave a comment
If they weren’t all so attractive, rich and pampered, you could almost feel sorry for celebrities at a time like this.
So much of a celebrity’s life is spent being sincerely asked for their opinions on issues of global importance that, when a serious international crisis actually starts to unfold, it must come as an awful shock to discover that suddenly nobody has any time for their shit any more.
Poor Gal Gadot and her merry choir of quarantined celebs got this exact rude awakening this when she uploaded a video of her and her friends singing an unbearably mawkish version of “Imagine” to Instagram.
Not for charity. Not to raise awareness. Not even as a goofy timer to instruct you how long you should wash your hands. Just for #numbers.
If Gal was expecting to be showered in love heart emojis, her timeline jammed with approving quote-tweets from doctors and politicians, then it didn’t go exactly to plan. The effort was roundly—and rightly—dunked on.
Still, the celebrity singalong is a well-established part of the process now, and Gal Gadot & The Covid 19 join an illustrious list of stars who tried—and failed—to make a difference.
Helping Haiti—Everybody Hurts (2010)
Proving there is no situation that Simon Cowell can’t somehow make worse, the karaoke king felt so moved by the plight of Haiti after the devastating earthquake it suffered in 2010 that he broke out his little black book and assembled a crew of pop stars to serenade the grieving Haitians as they rebuilt their lives.
Kylie Minogue, Mariah Carey, Jon Bon Jovi and Joe McElderry all banded together to each take a line of REM’s “Everybody Hurts” in order to raise some money for the afflicted. Unfortunately, the song’s sentiment changed a little when set against the backdrop of a horrendous natural disaster.
The message of solidarity the stars presumably intended to send was that, underneath it all, we are all the same deep down. It rang slightly hollow in practice, however, as Cheryl Cole and Robbie Williams were effectively telling the people of Haiti that we all have problems, yeah?
Jamie Oliver and Ed Sheeran—Food Revolution (2015)
The global food crisis is one that consistently gets overlooked in favour of more visceral, arresting disasters (forest fires, tsunamis, war and so forth). So Jamie Oliver’s attempt to raise awareness of the twin evils of food poverty and food wastage was an entirely noble one.
As so often happens with Jamie though, his enthusiasm got away with him and he ended up pouring his efforts into recording an affirmative rap track so hideously half-baked it unironically starts with the line “My name is Jamie Oliver, I’m here to say / I wanna talk about Food Revolution Day.”
Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Hugh Jackman, Jamie Cullum and Alesha Dixon all did their bit to help out but, sadly, for reasons unknown, Jamie has since decided to remove it from his YouTube channel.
Future generations might almost have missed out on hearing the song and learning of how their ancestors struggled to feed both their stomachs and minds were it not for one solitary YouTube user who hosts the only remaining copy of it on the site.
Artists Against AIDS/MTV All-Stars—What’s Going On? (2001)
No look at celebrity crisis intervention would be complete without a nod to Bono: the spiritual godfather of sticking his superstar nose in.
His most tone-deaf hour didn’t come with Band Aid (not even the bizarre 2014 ebola remix). Nor did it come with his Make Poverty History ads (the ones where he kept clicking like a tax-dodging Thanos to point out whenever somebody had died unnecessarily from preventable disease).
Bono’s greatest contribution to the genre came with the supergroup recording of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” he co-produced in 2001.
If you’ve never seen the video, it is an absolute masterclass in celebrity ego. A smattering of early 00s pop stars, all bound and blindfolded with strips of black material, gradually unravel themselves to reveal words like “GAY,” “IMMIGRANT,” “POET,” “CONSUMER,” “PROTESTANT,” “UPPER CLASS,” “VOTER” covering their eyes.
All of which would be excruciating enough. But the reason this song stands alone against such strong competition is because of its timing.
The track had been recorded in the weeks before September 11th and wasn’t due for release until the following month. Fearing it might look bad if they released a charity single that didn’t acknowledge 9/11, but not wanting to be seen as binning off AIDS in its favour, the song was quickly repositioned to serve a strange dual purpose: to fight AIDS and stop international terrorism.
How on earth does a song do both? By building to a crescendo of Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit rapping about suicide bombing while Beyoncé appears on camera holding up a duvet cover with the words ‘STOP GLOBAL AIDS’ printed on it.
If only Gal Gadot had shown the same sort of ambition.