We Are the World
A month after British pop stars raised awareness of the famine in Africa with the stellar “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, a couple of America’s best and brightest decided they wanted to get in on the action, too.
Sparked by an idea from Harry Belafonte, none other than Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie sat down to make a bit of music history.
The resulting ditty, “We Are the World”, was an instant hit, featuring a veritable who’s-who of American music, including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, Paul Simon, and Kenny Rogers.
Just like “Do They Know…”, “We Are the World” gave each singer a few words to sing all by him/herself, and then a couple more in a particularly unlikely pairing (“Dionne Warwick & Willie Nelson!” pops to mind).
Produced and orchestrated by the great Quincy Jones, “We Are the World” was as close to a musical masterpiece as you could hope for⎯ an instantly-singable tune with not-too-sappy lyrics, sung by pop royalty.
With in just a few weeks of it’s March 1985 release, “We Are the World” shattered records on the pop charts. It peaked at #1 for four weeks, starting on April 13, and went on to spend a total of 12 weeks in the top 40. (We think it’s mostly because of Dan Aykroyd’s superb backing vocals.)
More importantly… in all, USA for Africa has raised close to $70 million for humanitarian relief efforts.
How can you not love that?
We ♥ We Are the World.