Exclusive Premiere: An Anthem For Change

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Posted August 22, 2008 | 10:24 AM (EST)

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Earlier this year when I was recording "American Prayer," a song I originally co-wrote with Bono, the phrase, "When you get to the top of the mountain, remember me" seemed to take on a whole new resonance, given the inspirational candidacy of Barack Obama.

The song always contained one of my favorite passages from Dr. King, which was hauntingly delivered the night before he was assassinated. King says: "I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"

People long for a connection -- whether it is to music, to their country, or to a big idea. Regardless of what happens in November, Senator Obama has reminded millions of people that they have the power to connect to bigger ideas. He is, in essence, the embodiment of a new anthem for change. He has continued King's narrative from what was once thought of as a dream to a reality. I find it especially relevant that Barack Obama will accept the Democratic Party Nomination for President 45 years to the day of King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

When we were originally writing the song, Bono was crafting the words in a way that would make people think about the fact that 'America' as a concept was a truly great idea, based on the bedrock of equality. I find it more pertinent than ever to release it now; to the moment America finds itself in, daring to re-imagine itself and its place in the world.

When I set out to make a video for the new version of this song, I wanted to honor all of those millions of people, especially young people, who are, for the first time, feeling empowered to voice their beliefs. I wanted to capture how Obama's message of change has echoed across the broad fabric of what is America. To do that, we've cast the film with an eclectic array of personalities, including Forest Whitaker, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, Joan Baez, Macy Gray and Joss Stone. They appear alongside veterans, teachers and everyday citizens -- all of whom have been touched by this simple idea of change.

As an Englishman, I'm not an expert in all the intricate details of American politics. But as an artist, I understand how rare it is to inspire a connection to a bigger idea or purpose. This video isn't so much an endorsement of Barack Obama as much as it is a celebration of all those who have picked up a sign, who have registered to vote and are working to make the world a better place. So as Senator Barack Obama ascends to the mountain top, let us not forget all of the others who for the past 40 years have sung anthems of change to make this moment possible.

Watch the video for "American Prayer" here:

Fans are invited to upload their own video for the anthem at MyAmericanPrayer.com

Click here to download Dave Stewart's "American Prayer" from iTunes and here to download the ringtone from MyXer.


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- New bryansmith See Profile I'm a Fan of bryansmith permalink

thank you for that, I needed it!

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 09:57 AM on 08/25/2008
- UrsaMajority See Profile I'm a Fan of UrsaMajority permalink

Outstanding song, outstanding sentiment.

Having been around in the Sixties and seen the dreams carried by JFK and particularly Bobby Kennedy, I am saddened by the inability of so many who are too young or two cynical to even try to open their hearts to the idea -- as Dave says -- "that they have the power to connect to bigger ideas." Yes, they can do a simulation of it in church, but fail to realize the power of such a movement in this country. So, they mock anyone who purports to envision such a dream, even when that dream already has captured the involvement of millions. And, even more sadly, they'll see (or, more likely, hear a distorted summary of the song from Bill O'Reilly) and think that the term "American Prayer" envisions some messianic status to Obama. And they'll miss the point.

Still, we need to carry the message to one listener at a time. The heart can be penetrated in many ways. Messr. Stewart's song and video is a great weapon.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 02:15 AM on 08/25/2008
- JaStewrt See Profile I'm a Fan of JaStewrt permalink

Thank you, thank you.
That is so beautiful and moving.
There are so many of us who want this to happen. We outnumber the ones who do not and we have to do everything we can to elect Obama-Biden. Obama has set up the system. All we have to do is follow his directions and get the his voters out. And then after the victory, continue to work together. He is "organizing" America and we all have to do our part and follow his lead.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 02:14 AM on 08/25/2008
- kellygrrrl See Profile I'm a Fan of kellygrrrl permalink

Bravo Dave!!!!!

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 12:16 AM on 08/25/2008
- roch20 See Profile I'm a Fan of roch20 permalink

I got goosebumps, this is exactly what makes me so proud to be a DEMOCRAT, God knows how many times this country has screwed up, voting for the wrong President (George W. Bush) was the worst thing ever, today, because of the Bush administration our men and woman in uniform are living in harm... We can do something before is too late, vote for Obama/Biden, let's make a change! Tonight i was watching the Olympics games closing ceremony, i've felt so compelling with the Chinese people, and for a moment i felt EMBARRASSED to be an American, but things don't have to be like this for the next Olympics, we can help elect a good President, and be proud of the outcome! Yes We Can!

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 11:22 PM on 08/24/2008
- boogygran See Profile I'm a Fan of boogygran permalink

WOW - Thanks very much.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 10:20 PM on 08/24/2008
- pmag88 See Profile I'm a Fan of pmag88 permalink

Thanks for the prayer.. It was good.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 10:02 PM on 08/24/2008
- cynicalidealist See Profile I'm a Fan of cynicalidealist permalink

Excellent! But: The YouTube group is marked PRIVATE and not accepting new members. Wha?!?
Can we mix the vid with your permission?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:45 PM on 08/24/2008
- tlgeiger62 See Profile I'm a Fan of tlgeiger62 permalink

I got the shivers. I am one of those who until now have been blind to the process and more than a litle disinterested. I'd given up that I'd be able to have a say or make a difference. I'm 46 and don't think I've ever been so filled with hope for a better world. I try not to be so intense as to think he is going to solve every problem but I know his wisdom and intellect is something I can trust so that even if I don't necessarily agree, I trust HIM. And even knowing that I have that trust, floors me.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:39 PM on 08/24/2008
- libbygirl See Profile I'm a Fan of libbygirl permalink

Wow! Thank you for this. With chills and tears in my eyes, I have watched this over and over. My husband, who is a hard person to impress, was really moved by it too.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 04:52 PM on 08/24/2008
- Darkdonnie See Profile I'm a Fan of Darkdonnie permalink

USA greatest nation in the world, now help me CHANGE it! Obama/Obiden 08

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 03:31 PM on 08/24/2008
- New bryansmith See Profile I'm a Fan of bryansmith permalink

help him/us, live up to the American promise, to our higher ideals, to a greater purpose. Stop being so cynical, stop looking for the worst in everyone around you and try, for just one second, to remember that we can we can be better. We will be better, with or without you.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 09:55 AM on 08/25/2008
- KeithInBrooklyn See Profile I'm a Fan of KeithInBrooklyn permalink


    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 02:38 PM on 08/24/2008
- mamajama See Profile I'm a Fan of mamajama permalink

Very smart and well thought-out video. This requires more from the viewer than a simple emotional response. I reviewed it on my blog:




    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 01:45 PM on 08/24/2008
- Robert S. McElvaine - Huffpost Blogger I'm a Fan of Robert S. McElvaine permalink

This is wonderful! And the timing could not be better. As I noted in my blog yesterday, "Barack America!" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-s-mcelvaine/barack-america_b_120850.html), Joe Biden's slip of the tongue perfectly captured what Obama represents, so nicely captured here by Bono and Dave Stewart:
"the fact that 'America' as a concept was a truly great idea, based on the bedrock of equality. I find it more pertinent than ever to release it now; to the moment America finds itself in, daring to re-imagine itself and its place in the world."
"American Prayer (Song for Barack America)"

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 12:48 PM on 08/24/2008
- HHarvey See Profile I'm a Fan of HHarvey permalink

Dave, that was just beautiful and moving. A visual piece of art. Thank you.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 10:34 AM on 08/24/2008
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