Get Up Everybody and Sing

Sister Sledge is an American musical vocal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  They formed in 1971, and were originally composed of sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim, and Kathy Sledge.  The four siblings achieved international success at the height of the disco era.  ‘We Are Family’ came out on their 1979 album of the same name, which was their third studio album and the single reached #8 in the UK and charted #2 in the US.  Their father Edwin Sledge was a Broadway tap dancer and their grandmother Viola Williams, was a former lyric soprano opera singer.  Atlantic Records connected them with producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the band Chic and that helped them to gain mainstream success.  When Rodgers first met Sister Sledge, they just finished putting the final touches on the song ‘We Are Family’.   They walked into the studio, while the song was still being written and once it was finished, Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers gave it to them and basically said, “Here it is and here’s how it goes!”  Rodgers and Edwards had a specific way of working that did not leave much space for different ideas from the artists.  The lead vocals to ‘We Are Family’ were recorded in a single take by the then 19-year-old Kathy Sledge.

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 #20 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.  Atlantic Records President Jerry L. Greenberg described Sister Sledge to Edwards and Rodgers and they wrote the lyrics to this song from that description.  The words in this song are about determination, not giving up, so they kind of fit with what this group was facing at this time.  ‘We Are Family’ became the rally song of the 1979 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates who were led by Willie Stargell as the Pirates came from behind to win.  This song became an anthem for women’s groups and a message of unity.  It was also used an early version of a Diet Pepsi commercial, when it was called Pepsi Free, with the obvious line, “We are Pepsi Free.”

Chic regarded themselves as a rock band for the disco movement “that made good on hippie peace, love and freedom”.  They are an American band that was organized in 1972 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards and are currently called Nile Rodgers & Chic.  Chic introduced a young session vocalist, Luther Vandross, who sang on this song and some of their early albums.  Chic recorded many commercially successful disco songs, including ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ (1977), ‘Everybody Dance’ (1977), ‘Le Freak’ (1978), ‘I Want Your Love’ (1978), ‘Good Times’ (1979), and ‘My Forbidden Lover’ (1979).

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

Everyone can see we’re together
As we walk on by
(And) and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won’t tell no lie

all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose

We are family (hey, y’all)
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing (sing it to me)

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

Living life is fun and we’ve just begun
To get our share of this world’s delights
(High) high hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight

no, we don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong, oh no
This is our family jewel

We are family (hey, sing it to me)
I got all my sisters with me
We are family (oh, I can hear you now)
Get up everybody and sing

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family (get up, get up y’all)
Get up everybody and sing

We are family (I got my sisters with me)
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing (get up and sing it to me)

Written for Thursday Inspiration #129 That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, where the prompt is family.

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