Detroit-born producer Don Was has helmed a new version of the Ben E. King hit "Stand By Me" that features rock star Jon Bon Jovi and exiled Iranian singer Andy Madadian sending "a musical message of worldwide solidarity" to the people of Iran in the wake of their country's controversial recent election.
The video debuted over the weekend on Was' portion of the My Damn Channel web site (www.mydamnchannel/Donwas) and, the Oak Park High School graduate says, "is not for sale. It wasn't intended to be on the Billboard charts, wasn't meant to be a hit record or even pressed on a CD. It's intended to be downloaded and shared by the Iranian people.
"The whole idea was to get it into Iran and tell them...to carry on, that the world is watching and we're with you."
Was says the June 24 session, which took place Thursday in Los Angeles, was spurred by a conversation he had with Madadian about "whether there was something we could do just to send out a little message of solidarity, remembering the '60s, believing music can change things." When they arrived to record the song, they found Bon Jovi, guitarist Richie Sambora and John Shanks, who's producing their next album, sitting outside and having lunch.
"They asked what we were doing, I told them, and Jon said, 'Look, man, if you do it right now we'll do it with you,' " Was recalls. "So we did." Maladian -- who's lived in the U.S. since the Iranian revolution of 1979 -- and Bon Jovi duet on the song, with both men singing the first verse in Farsi. Sambora plays a guitar solo, with Was on bass, Patrick Leonard on keyboards and Jeff Rothchild on drums.
We just cut it," Was says, "and the video is the session. It took about four hours and just fell into place nicely." The video went online Saturday and was quickly disseminated via MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other sites. At the end of the video Maladian and Bon Jovi stand next to each other, with the latter holding a sing saying "We are one" in Farsi.
Was comes home on July 18 to host his second annual Detroit Super Session featuring heritage and contemporary Detroit rock acts during the Concert of Colors at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. Information about the free show is available at www.concertofcolors.com.
Send your thoughts and comments to