This song, “We are the World” was first recorded (in 1985) in order to raise money for the people of Africa who had experienced a famine that killed around one million people.
It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. With sales in excess of 20 million copies, it is one of fewer than 30 retail singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide.
The idea was to have as many renowned singers participate in the recording of this song. So, a call went out to have singers go to a studio in L.A. and record a song — a song so epic, so star-studded, so brazenly sentimental it will never be forgotten.
It is a long list of renowned musicians who stepped up to the plate and participated in the making of this iconic song. And I will probably miss some who did give their talents freely: Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, Billy Joel, Kenny Loggins, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Al Jarreau, Smokey Robinson, La Toya Jackson, Willie Nelson, The Pointer Sisters, Dionne Warwick, Huey Lewis, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper, James Ingram and so many others.
This song, “We Are the World,” went on to sell more than 20 million copies and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa.
Raising this much money for charity is an amazing feat, although “charitable work” is not its legacy. “We Are the World” is known for being a wonderful, delightful, ever-entertaining hot mess of celebrities jockeying for attention and the ability to say their voice did the most for Africa.
This song may have been recorded to assist people who were starving in Africa, but after listening to the lyrics of the song, I feel it is still relevant in this time of the Covid-19 pendemic.
Take a listen