Who was who in Tears Are Not Enough

Thirty years ago, Canadian producer David Foster and music agent Bruce Allen brought together some of the top Canadian entertainers to contribute a song to the We Are the World album in aid of Ethiopian famine relief. Here's a look at the names behind Northern Lights.

Tears Are Not Enough is 30 years old

8 years ago
Duration 8:05
Interview with co-writer Jim Vallance, who looks back at the song and the fight for famine relief in Africa, as well as aid for food banks in Canada

Music producer David Foster and band manager Bruce Allen brought together some of the top names in Canadian music 30 years ago to contribute a song to the We Are the World album in aid of Ethiopian famine relief.

The superstar group, known as Northern Lights, recorded Tears Are Not Enough, raising millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa as well as aid for food banks in Canada. Here's a look at the people who participated in recording sessions for the single, including the main session in Toronto on Feb. 10, 1985:

Vocalists, (solo, duos and trios in order of appearance):

  • Gordon Lightfoot.
  • Burton Cummings.
  • Anne Murray.
  • Joni Mitchell.
  • Dan Hill.
  • Neil Young.
  • Bryan Adams.
  • Mike Reno (Loverboy) and Liberty Silver.
  • Carroll Baker, Ronnie Hawkins and Murray McLauchlan.
  • Corey Hart.
  • Véronique Béliveau, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois (in French).
  • Bruce Cockburn.
  • Geddy Lee (Rush).
  • Adams and Don Gerrard.
  • (Alfie) Zappacosta and (Lisa) Dalbello.
  • Carole Pope (Rough Trade) and Paul Hyde (The Payola$).
  • Salome Bey, Mark Holmes (Platinum Blonde) and Lorraine Segato (The Parachute Club).
  • Mike Reno.

Chorus members:

  • Aldo Nova.
  • Liona Boyd.
  • John Candy.
  • Tom Cochrane.
  • Gordon Deppe (the Spoons.)
  • Robin Duke.
  • Brian Good.
  • Tommy Hunter.
  • Martha Johnson.
  • Marc Jordan.
  • Eugene Levy.
  • Baron Longfellow (also known as Andy Kim, also from the Spoons.)
  • Richard Manuel.
  • Frank Mills.
  • Kim Mitchell.
  • Bruce Murray.
  • Catherine O'Hara.
  • Oscar Peterson.
  • Colina Phillips.
  • Wayne St. John.
  • Paul Shaffer.
  • Graham Shaw.
  • Leroy Sibbles.
  • Jane Siberry.
  • Ainalem Tebeje.
  • Alan Thicke.
  • Ian Thomas.
  • Sylvia Tyson.
  • Sharon Lee Williams.
  • Wayne Gretzky and NHL All-Stars and fans (in the music video).

Instruments and production:

  • David Foster - keyboards, producer.
  • Jim Vallance - drums, engineer, associate producer.
  • Paul Dean (Loverboy) - guitar.
  • Steven Denroche - French horn.
  • Doug Johnson (Loverboy) - synthesizer.
  • David Sinclair - acoustic guitar.
  • Hayward Parrott - engineer.
  • Geoff Turner - engineer.
  • Bob Rock - engineer.
  • Humberto Gatica - mixing engineer.
  • Ron Searles - assistant engineer and tape op.
  • Peter Lee - second engineer.
  • Mike Duncan - assistant engineer.
  • Rick Starks - assistant engineer.

Know of anyone we missed? Send us an email

Source: Marlene Palmer, Wikipedia, Allmusic.com


  • An earlier version of this story said that Paul Anka was part of Northern Lights. In fact, he was unable to attend the recording session that day.
    Feb 10, 2015 11:57 AM ET