As the ravages of Covid-19 doggedly persist, Wayne Hussey (Sisters of Mercy, The Mission) has enlisted help to create a benefit re-recording of The Mission’s Tower of Strength to assist key workers around the globe.
Hussey says, “When COVID-19 hit I started receiving messages asking ‘why don’t you re-issue Tower Of Strength for the front line workers?’ The song had apparently been adopted as an anthem by some NHS workers, and it got me thinking that I would like to contribute something to the greater cause at this unprecedented time…the only thing I could really contribute is music.”
Hussey consulted bandmates Craig Adams, Mick Brown and Simon Hinkler about the idea — and they all agreed to give up any income from the re-recording to COVID charities. Hussey’s friend Michael Ciravolo joined the cause, and soon the pair were able to enlist the help of numerous friends and acquaintances. Initially they wondered if recording a more well-known song might have greater reach, but failed to find the magic combination of lyrical fit “without getting too corny.” They settled on Tower of Strength, The Mission’s 1988 hit single, which charted twice in the UK Top 40 and remains their most successful release.
“It is anthemic,” says Hussey.
Original 1988 Release:
The proceeds will be split among COVID-related charities chosen by each of the participants. (A full listing of charities benefitting from the sales of the single are below.)
The roster of musicians is certainly impressive. Contributors include Lol Tolhurst (The Cure), Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Gary Numan, Andy Rourke (The Smiths) Midge Ure (Ultravox), Budgie (Siouxsie and the Banshees; The Creatures), Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets) Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Richard Fortus and Robin Finck (Guns N’ Roses), Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) and more.
Bonus: a reunion of Jay and Michael Aston from Gene Loves Jezebel! How did that miracle happen? Michael Ciravolo explains in his blog:
“I guess I take the blame or credit, depends how you look it it of suggesting them. I have remained friends with Michael Aston since being part of the Gene Loves Jezebel Anniversary tour in 1997-1998…Wayne, however, has remained in touch with Jay, as his ‘version’ of GLJ has supported The Mission over the years, even on the most recent pre-Covid tour. So he and I both reached out to our respective Aston and asked them to sing on this…I don’t think this will lead to an Aston brothers reunion, but stranger things have happened. Hopefully, it as least opens the door to some sort of reconciliation, even if it doesn’t include GLJ.”
Dubbed “TOS2020” by ReMission International, the single is available for pre-order and will be released digitally Aug. 28 and on physical media — gold-colored 12-inch vinyl and CD — on Oct. 2. TOS2020 has been renamed to divert funds from the original version. “Because the musical contributions are global our idea is that the proceeds will be divided and distributed equally among all the beneficiaries,” says Hussey.
“Whilst all the versions will be available to listen to on all streaming platforms I’m gonna ask you to help the cause by buying at least the digital package which is priced at only £2.99,” Hussey says. “It’s not much, is it? For the price of a coffee you’ll receive all five versions. Come on, help us to help others.”
ReMission International charities:
- NHS Charities UK
- St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Memphis
- Music Venue Trust UK
- Covenant House, New Orleans
- Disasters Emergency Committee
- Plan International
- Direct Relief
- Alzheimer’s Scotland
- Liberty Hill Foundation
- The Shrewsbury Ark
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Center, NYC
- Prostate Cancer UK
- The Teddy Bear Clinic
- Red Rover
- Help Musicians UK
- Crew Nation
- Venice Family Clinic
- The Anthony Walker Foundation
- Projeto Cáo Communitário
- The City Of San Francisco COVID-19 Fund