|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
There comes a time, when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
In 1984, Ethiopia was struck by a famine, making headlines across the world. The famine also struck the conscience of the entertainment industry, with the release of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid that same year. Not long after, American entertainers decided to put together their own effort to raise funds and awareness for Ethiopia.
Enlisted by Harry Belafonte, Lionel Richie contacted Michael Jackson, who agreed to perform and help with writing. Belafonte also contacted Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones, who assisted with conducting and producing the song.
Richie, Jackson, Wonder and Jones continued to tweak the lyrics up to the first recording session, and a special track was prepared for the performers who would be invited to perform on January 28. Included in the lineup were Ray Charles, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson, with a vast choir that included Dan Aykroyd, Bob Geldof, Bette Midler, the Pointer Sisters and the rest of Jackson's family.
"We Are the World" was released on March 7, 1985, reaching number one on the R&B Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100, and raising $10.8 million within four months. Since then, the record has raked in $63 million, put toward both short-term and long-term humanitarian relief projects, with 10% of the funds also being used for domestic hunger and homeless programs.
Twenty-five years on, in February 2010, a new version of "We Are the World" was recorded and released following the Haiti earthquake, reuniting Richie and Jones for its production. Material recorded by Jackson from the original was also interwoven into the new version, which features Wyclef Jean, Josh Groban, Usher, Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne and other well-known artists. All proceeds from the song were used by the newly formed We Are The World LLC to help with relief efforts in Haiti.
We Are the World contains examples of:
- Blind Musician: Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. Who actually lampshaded this on the night by threatening that if it wasn't done in one take, the pair of them would be driving people home.
- Charity Motivation Song: To help raise money for charities helping in Ethiopia.
- Mega Crossover: You know, for charity!
- Melismatic Vocals: Present and correct.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change