We Are Family (song)
|"We Are Family"|
|Single by Sister Sledge|
|from the album We Are Family|
|B-side||"Easier to Love"|
|Studio||The Power Station|
(New York City, New York)
|Genre||R&B, disco, soul|
|Length||8:20 (album version) 3:35 (single edit)|
|Songwriter(s)||Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers|
|Producer(s)||Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards|
|Sister Sledge singles chronology|
"We Are Family" is a song recorded by American vocal group Sister Sledge. The song was composed by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. They both 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 in April 1979 and began to gain club and radio play, eventually becoming the group's signature song.
"We Are Family" went gold, becoming the number-one R&B and number two pop song on the American charts in 1979 (behind "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer). Along with the tracks "He's the Greatest Dancer" and "Lost in Music", "We Are Family" reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs. It was also the theme song for the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 2017, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant." Billboard magazine named the song number 20 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
Origins and meaning
"We Are Family" was the first song that Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards wrote for any other act than their own band Chic. After their first hit, "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)", Atlantic Records President Jerry L. Greenberg wanted the pair to write and produce for other acts on the label, which Rodgers and Edwards considered far too big and established, e.g.: The Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, etc. Their point was that any credit of a hit for such an established act would just go to the performing bigger act, and not establish Rodgers/Edwards as songwriter/producers. So the pair suggested that they write and produce a song for the label's least established act, and that if they got them a hit record, then they could take the challenge of writing for a bigger act.
According to Rodgers, the verses were mostly verbatim based on how Greenberg described the group to them when first commissioning the work. Rodgers/Edwards then simply walked immediately to the studio, rearranged their notes from the meeting into lyrics, and wrote a song melody underneath them. The chorus (and therefore the title) makes reference to the fact that the group are the four sisters of a family. 
Artists who have covered the song include Dusty Springfield, Jump5, The Goldman Girls, Jordan Pruitt, Spice Girls, The Corrs, Nobody's Angel, Babes in Toyland and Lodovica Comello. 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 television shows from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon and Disney such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Sesame Street, etc. This version aired on Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and PBS Kids as a controversial 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". Japanese trio Home Made Kazoku covered this song in Japanese. In 2013, the Aristofreeks (Lenny Ibizarre & Max Martire) remixed the song with newly re-recorded vocals by Kathy Sledge to be released on The Pacific Electronic Music label in November 2013.
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- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 530.
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