"46664 Part 1: African Prayer" - Various Artists

Compilation Album

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Full Track Listing:

  • Crazy in Love (46664 Version) – Beyonce (6:19)
  • Speech – Bob Geldof (4:22)
  • Redemption Song – Bob Geldof (3:38)
  • Say it’s Not True – Queen, David A. Stewart (3:22)
  • Starry Eyed Suprise – Paul Oakenfold, Shifty Shellshock, TC (5:05)
  • Ready Steady Go – Paul Oakenfold, Shifty Shellshock, TC, Amampondo Drummers (4:59)
  • Baayo – Baaba Maal (4:42)
  • Njilou – Baaba Maal (4:28)
  • Africa Dream Again – Youssou N’Dour (6:35)
  • Wild World – Yusuf Islam, Peter Gabriel (5:27)
  • In Your Eyes – Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, Peter Gabriel (11:13)
  • Biko – Peter Gabriel (9:25)
  • American Prayer – Beyonce, Bono, the Edge, David A. Stewart (4:20)

Background Information

On October 21, 2003, it was announced that a huge concert would be held in Cape Town, South Africa to raise awareness of Africa’s AIDS plight. The initiative, called 46664 represented Nelson Mandela’s prison number for more than 18 years while he was a prisoner in Robben Island in South Africa. Mandela explained the use of the number, “Millions of people today infected with AIDS are just that — a number,” he said. “They too are serving a prison sentence for life. That’s why for the first time I am allowing my prison number…to brand this campaign.” The concert had initially been planned for earlier in 2003 but had been pushed back to coincide with World AIDS Day. The concert was streamed on the internet, and was later televised to the world.

The campaign took it’s name from another source, David Stewart of the Eurythmics had started working with Joe Strummer of the Clash and later Bono on a song in 2002. The song was titled “46664 (Long Walk to Freedom)”. Dave Stewart had approached Nelson Mandela in November 2002 about using the number for the basis for a song, and explained his desire to use the proceeds from the song for raising money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Stewart first approached Joe Strummer of The Clash to co-write the lyrics to the song, but after Strummer’s death Stewart finished the song with Bono. The two recorded the song with Youssou N’Dour and Abdel as the first in a series of songs for the campaign which would eventually be launched. It was released as a digital single in October of 2003.

The concert was released on DVD, as well as on CD. Rather than releasing a pricey 3-disc set, the record label released three separate discs, each with a subtitle, “African Prayer”, “Amandla” and “Long Walk to Freedom”. Each disc was released with a picture of Mandela on the cover, although tinted different colours to make telling the difference between the CDs easier.

The first disc was “African Prayer” taking the name from the lyrics Bono would sing on the track “American Prayer” that night in concert. The performance of “American Prayer” is included on this disc and featured Bono and The Edge performing the song with David A. Stewart and Beyonce. Stewart and Bono had co-written the song and Stewart discussed it: “It’s impossible to explain the writing of American Prayer with Bono in a short paragraph, so to give you a hint: we wrote it in Dublin, Los Angeles, Miami, London, New York and Cape Town. During the process we had many versions and worked with Timbaland, Dr. Dre, The Neptunes; with Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Luther Vandross, Youssou N’Dour, Aaron Lewis, and we even filmed Oprah Winfrey singing it! This is not an easy story to tell in a few words.”

A studio version of “American Prayer” has never been released featuring Bono on vocals. Stewart has released his own version of the song as a single however, and included it on his “Dave Stewart Songbook, Volume One” album in 2008.

Liner Notes

American Prayer:
Written by Hewson, Stewart, P. Williams. Performed by Bono, The Edge, Beyonce, David A. Stewart. Recorded by Justin Shirley-Smith and Toby Alington. Mixed by David Richards and Josh Macrae at Moutain Studios (Montreux Switzerland) and The Priory (Surrey, UK).

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