This morning I was reflecting that I couldn’t really remember the song when Earth Song was first released. I thought that maybe it was because, in 1995-1996, the time of its release, I wasn’t paying much attention to videos or even music. True, I didn’t have a TV for most of that time.
This morning I learned that it was not because I was becoming a fogey or even a budding Luddite, but rather, I hadn’t heard it because it was not released as a single in the United States.
Let me repeat that: Michael Jackson’s Earth Song was not released as a single in the U.S. in 1995-1996. What is his largest-selling single in Britain was not released in the U.S. Eh? Not released in the United States.
According to an 2009 article in Treehugger via Creative Loafing (I savor my papers), Epic Records apparently didn’t feel that it was a topic/song of interest in the U.S. market, or would have much appeal here.
Hm. Americans not interested in global environmental or military devastation (also related to environmental exploitation and resource abuse). Hm. In 1995, 1996. Hm.
So, what was going on in the U.S./world during 1995 and 1996 that might have informed Epic’s decision or determination that not releasing this hugely popular song would be more profitable than releasing it? Someone with better research skills than I could come up with a comprehensive list, but here’s an appetizer of events in 1995 and 1996:
- According to Encyclopedia Britannica’s The Environment: Year in Review 1995 (you must have a subscription to read the entire article, which I don’t, but here’s an excerpt): ” The threat of global warming continued to dominate environmental concerns in 1995, and for the first time, climatologists were confident they had detected conclusive evidence of it.”
- The second UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), aka the Earth Summit, had occurred three years previously. This important conference lead to the development of the Kyoto protocol and focused on reducing greenhouse gases.
- On January 3, 1995, Republicans gained control over both houses of U.S. legislative government the first time since the 1950s.
- The 104th Congress supported and ratified the Contract with America – which omitted any reference to addressing American’s innate right to clean air, clean soil and clean water.
- 1996 – the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act – not suggesting that this has anything topical in common with this subject, but just the nature of control by the Congress over say over our personal and societal destinies.
I must say that I can’t imagine how it became lucrative to Epic not to release this as a single in the U.S. Hm. How can that be?
Well, I don’t know the answer to the Epic Records question, nor care I to find out. That was then; this is now. Fuck that. Actually, I’m quite curious.
Come the Divine Wind; the Earth will take care of the rest. But it would be really nice if humans woke up before that Wind blows, and before more innocent living creatures had to die for human greed and ignorance.
Well done, Michael. Happy Earth Day to you.