Joey Sykes, the guitarist for the legendary rock group THE BABYS, brought together a group of leading musicians to help preserve music education in schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 5.6 million Americans.
Since early 2020, when it became apparent that the pandemic would cause all concerts and tours to be canceled for this year, Sykes focused his efforts on creating something meaningful that could be done while staying ‘safe at home’ and involve many of the celebrity players whose musician circles he shares.
He realized that schools were moving toward virtual learning and that music
programs may be on the chopping block with budget cuts. “I got the idea to record a guitar-heavy, instrumental version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ when I started thinking about the role music has played in my own life,” says Sykes, who conceived of and produced the project. “Music helps people feel socially connected, even when they are physically distanced.”
Sykes brings together dozens of musicians collectively as “The Principals,” who he’s played with throughout his career, for this special instrumental version of The Beatles’ classic hit which will benefit two leading music education nonprofit organizations, Little Kids Rock and Save The Music, in support of public school music programs at risk of elimination as students embark on the 2020-2021 school year.
Sykes, together with a host of musicians who have performed with some of rock and roll’s greatest bands and artists (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, David Bowie, Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, Alice Cooper, Sheryl Crow, Nancy Wilson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and others), recorded an instrumental version of the famous tune penned by Beatle, George Harrison.
“It’s not easy to pull together artists of this caliber to record in normal times, let alone during a pandemic,” Sykes said, “but the challenges of making music together from a distance are the same for us as they are for music teachers and students across the country right now, and they don’t all have the experience, support, and equipment that we do.”
The video encapsulates these talented musicians who donated their time for the project and whose different playing styles created a variety of colors and textures unique to an instrumental version of the song.
The video will premiere on Save the Music’s Facebook Page (Facebook.com/SaveTheMusic) with a fundraising campaign equally benefitting these two leading national music education nonprofits: Little Kids Rock and Save The Music. Proceeds will support music teachers with virtual education resources.
Save The Music’s new #MUSICSAVES campaign is a public service initiative spotlighting the overwhelmingly positive impact of music education programs on the development of children to ensure they do not fall behind in the 2020-2021 school year, and Little Kids Rock’s work in transforming lives through music education, both in-person and virtually this school year.
“The fight for music in schools has never been more important,” states Save The Music Executive Director Henry Donahue. “We know that music has the power to save – giving students a creative outlet and means of self-expression during a very challenging time. It is a critical tool for the emotional and mental health of our children. We are humbled to have the support of Joey Sykes and these world-class musicians at a time when our students need it the most. Let’s continue to band together and keep the music playing.”
“We are living through an unprecedented time that is disproportionately impacting our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, and that is no different within our educational system,” states David Wish, founder, and CEO of Little Kids Rock. “We are investing our resources in ways that will reach our most disadvantaged students and equip our most dedicated teachers to not only continue providing music education to students but to adapt and innovate their practice to meet the current moment in which we are living.”
Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Average White Band, Chaka Kahn)
Gregg Bissonette (Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, Toto, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani)
Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow, Don Henley)
Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon, John Waite)
Kirk Lloyd Douglas (The Roots- Jimmy Fallon show)
Joey Sykes (The Babys, Meredith Brooks, Honey River)
Tommy Henriksen (Alice Cooper, Hollywood Vampires, solo artist)
Mitch Perry (Lita Ford, Sweet)
Jon Levin (Dokken)
Angus Clark (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Kevin Eubanks ( Tonight Show with Jay Leno)
Kat Dyson (Prince, Cyndi Lauper)
Jason Sinay (Dirty Knobs w/ Mike Campbell)
Tariqh Akoni (Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Herbie Hancock)
Fernando Perdomo (Echo in the Canyon)
Billy Alexander (YYNOT, John Waite)
TAZ (Solo artist)
Ryan Waters (Sade, Nancy Wilson, Liv Warfield)
Walter Ino (The Babys, Survivor, Eagles of Death Metal)
Lance Lopez (Solo artist)
Jake Shimabukuro (popular Hawaiian artist)
Dave Eggar (Foreigner, Amy Winehouse, Paul Simon, Zayn Malik)
Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck)
Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, Dokken)
Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz, Little Steven, Beyonce, James Brown)
About Little Kids Rock
Little Kids Rock is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that transforms lives by restoring, expanding, and innovating music education in our schools. Our network of thousands of K-12 teachers across 44 states leads a national movement that brings innovative and inclusive music education for students.
Using genres including rock, pop, Latin, and rap, our program
empowers teachers to build music programs as diverse as the kids they serve. Our students see themselves reflected in their classes, which strengthens their connection to their school, their peers, and their community. Little Kids Rock also donates necessary instruments, and curriculum, meeting a key need for many school music programs.
The world of music expands through innovation, and we ensure that music education does as well. More than 550,000 kids currently participate in Little Kids Rock programs nationwide. Since 2002, the organization has reached more than 1,000,000 students with highly inclusive and culturally relevant music education.
About Save The Music Foundation
The Save The Music Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps students, schools, and communities reach their full potential through the power of making music. Founded in 1997, Save The Music partners with school districts and raises funds to restore music programs in public schools.
Since its inception, the organization has donated over $60 million worth of new musical instruments, equipment, and technology to 2,201 schools in 277 school districts
around the country–impacting the lives of countless students.
Donate here: bit.ly/DonateGuitarGentlyWeeps
Little Kids Rock www.littlekidsrock.org/
Contact: Danielle Ghandour email: [email protected]
Save The Music www.savethemusic.org/
Contact: Danielle Zalaznick email: [email protected]
Joey Sykes https://www.joeysykes.com/ email: [email protected]