"We Are Family" is a 1979 dance hit song by Sister Sledge, composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. Rodgers and Edwards offered the song to Atlantic Records; although the record label initially declined, the track was released as a single from the album of the same name and quickly began to gain club and radio play. It eventually went Gold, becoming the number one R&B and number two pop song on the US charts in 1979. Along with the tracks, "He's the Greatest Dancer" and "Lost in Music", "We Are Family" reached number one on the disco charts. It was also the theme song for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, and was featured in both the 1996 film The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, and the 1997 filmThe Full Monty.
Origins and meaning[edit source | edit]
"We Are Family" was the first song that Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote for Sister Sledge. According to Rodgers, the verses were mostly based on how an executive at Atlantic Records described the group to them when first commissioning the work. The chorus (and therefore the title) makes reference to the literal fact that the group are the four sisters of a family, though the song has since gone on to be used more generally as an expression of solidarity in various contexts, notably as the anthem of the We Are Family Foundation, which is named after it.
Pop culture references[edit source | edit]
The song was used as the 1979 theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who won baseball's World Series that year. The team's on-field leader, Willie Stargell, used the song as a metaphor for the team, which worked well together to beat the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles in seven games. The song was also played during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.
This song was re-released in 1993 in remix form in the UK, where the original had peaked at number seven on the singles chart. An edit of a longer mix by Sure Is Pure (Danny Spencer & Kelvin Andrews) sub-titled the "Sure Is Pure Remix Edit", the single surpassed the success of the original, reaching number five in the UK and remains their third biggest hit to date in that country (after "Frankie" and the 1984 remix of "Lost in Music").
In 2001, the song was used for commercials promoting the video release of Recess: School's Out. The song was not featured in the film itself.
The Sure Is Pure Remix Edit was also used on the UK TV show Gladiators, as the entrance theme for the female Gladiators for the event Powerball.
A cover version of the song was used from 2007 to 2009 as the theme song (as well as before and after every station break) for the French game show Une famille en or ("A Golden Family") on the national television network TF1. This program is the French equivalent of the American game show Family Feud.
Cover versions[edit source | edit]
Artists who have covered the song include Jump5, The Goldman Girls Jordan Pruitt, Spice Girls, The Corrs, and Babes in Toyland. Babes In Toyland's version of the song was more rock oriented and it was a left field Dance club hit in the U.S. It peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1995. In addition, Rodgers organized a re-recording of the song in 2001 as a benefit record for the September 11 attacks. This in turn led to his co-creation of the We Are Family Foundation, a global charity named for the song and designed to inspire and educate young people to find solutions to problems such as hunger and illiteracy that impede world peace. Rodgers also produced a version featuring characters from popular children's television shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. This version aired on Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and PBS Kids as a public service announcement. In December 2007, the song was announced as one of the 2008 inductees to the Grammy Hall of Fame. Kinshuk Nath in 2009 with his own office rendition of We Are Family. The Chipmunks andThe Chipettes covered the song for the movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and the movie's soundtrack. Japanese trio Home Made Kazoku covered this song in Japanese.