Northern Lights was the name of a supergroup of Canadian artists who recorded the song "Tears Are Not Enough" for the African famine relief effort in 1985.
The recording was the Canadian response to their British and American counterparts contributions to the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia. Britain's Band Aid recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas?" on November 25, 1984 while America's USA for Africa recorded "We Are the World" on January 28, 1985. Proceeds from the sales of all songs were donated to famine relief effort in Ethiopia. The Live Aid concert followed on July 13, 1985.
"Tears Are Not Enough" was written by David Foster, Jim Vallance, Bryan Adams, Rachel Paiement, Bob Rock and Paul Hyde. Foster and Vallance composed the music. Vallance and Adams wrote the English lyrics while Paiement wrote the French lyrics. Paiement is Vallance's wife, a Franco-Ontarian and a singer-songwriter-musician in her own right. The song title, "Tears Are Not Enough", was contributed by Rock and Hyde of the Canadian band Payola$. At the time, Foster was producing the Payola$ new release and asked their permission to use the song title from one of their unrecorded, unrelated songs. For their contribution, Rock and Hyde were credited as co-writers. The song was written between February 1 and February 3, 1985 in Vallance's and Paiement's home studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. A demo tape was made at the completion as a sample track for the grand recording.
The recording with the grand ensemble of Canadian artists happened on February 10, 1985 at Manta Sound studios in Toronto, Ontario.
Vocalists who had solo appearances on the track included:
Burton Cummings, solo artist and member of The Guess Who,
Neil Young, solo artist and member of Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Crazy Horse,
Geddy Lee, solo artist and member of Rush,
Mike Reno, solo artist and member of Loverboy,
Vocalists who appeared in duos or trios with other vocalists:
Donny Gerrard, solo artist and member of Skylark,
Paul Hyde of the Payola$,
Carole Pope of Rough Trade,
Mark Holmes, member of Platinum Blonde,
Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club,
Participated as instrumentalists or as backing vocalists in the song's chorus.
John Candy, actor and comedian,
Tom Cochrane, solo artist and member of Red Rider,
Brian Good, member of The Good Brothers,
Richard Manuel, member of The Band,
Bruce Murray (musician), solo artist and brother of Anne Murray,
Catherine O'Hara, actress and comedian,
Colina Phillips, solo artist,
Paul Shaffer, leader of The CBS Orchestra,
Wayne St. John, solo artist,
Sharon Williams, solo artist