The best peace, love and harmony anthem of 1985 didn’t come from the composing pen of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, wasn’t produced by Quincy Jones and not sung by hordes of rock music’s biggest stars. It came to us from Ernie Isley, Chris Jasper and Marvin Isley.
“Caravan Of Love” just missed the top 50 in the Hot 100, but it was pervasive to anyone like me listening to the urban music stations at that time, shooting up to #1 on the R&B charts and staying there for a few weeks. It was, in fact, Isley-Jasper-Isley’s biggest hit. And though the swaying groove of this song bears a close resemblance to the Isley Brothers’ “Between The Sheets” from a couple of years earlier, the topic isn’t about making hot steamin’ love, it’s an appeal for mankind to “join together, with hearts of gold.”
Though credited to all three, this one is really Jasper’s song. He not only sang the heartfelt lead vocal, but the spiritual theme is right down his alley (confirmed by his subsequent solo work, all the way up to the present day). He doesn’t preach, so much as issues a plea for an ideal society where “We’ll be living in a world of peace/In a day when everyone is free/We’ll bring the young and the old/Won’t you let your love flow from your heart.”
Lines like that might sound hokey to some, but the trio was bucking the trends of the time with a Biblical theme cajoling everybody to get along. And when I think of all the even crazier stuff going on in this world twenty-eight years later, I’m left to wonder if we need words like these now more than ever. Put to a groove constructed by the brains behind that classic Isley Brothers sound, “Caravan Of Love” is persuasive enough to rise well above the usual middle of the 80s fare.
Including, yes, “We Are The World.”
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