Playing for Change, a multimedia collective aiming to connect the world through music, is set to release Listen to the Music, an album of rock songs performed by over 200 musicians all over the world. Now, we have a performance video for the title track — an effervescent take on the Doobie Brothers’ 1972 hit “Listen to the Music.” It finds the Doobies joined by musicians all over the world, from the United States to Tokyo to Lebanon and beyond.
PfC also moonlights as a 501(c)3 nonprofit aimed at building music and art schools for kids all over the world, so the Doobies’ soothing, upbeat hit is a natural choice for this kind of philanthropic project. In fact, when “Music” was first written, it was a call for world peace. Doobie Brothers guitarist Tom Johnston said of the song in 2012, “It was based on this utopian ideal that if the leaders of the world got together … and just listened to some music and forgot all this other bulls—, the world would be a better place.”
Today (April 5), Johnston strikes a holistic, universal tone when describing the song and its aim here. “It can apply to anything. It’s about our need to hear music to communicate. We respect what the people at Playing for Change are doing and are excited to be part of this project.”
In our extremely divisive, razor’s-edge era where it’s impossible to know what will happen tomorrow, this sort of feel-good, collective energy isn’t just a throwback to ‘72 or a nice thought; it is a truly healing balm. You can listen to this revamped, kitchen-sink version of “Listen to the Music” below.