USA for Africa/YouTube
The year was 1985. Ethiopia was suffering one the most devastating famines the world had ever seen. More than 1 million Ethiopians died between the years of 1983 and 1985, a tragedy that is nearly incomprehensible to most.
“We Are The World” was written in record time and completed the night before the recording session was to begin. With the help of Kenny Rogers and his Lion Share Recording Studio, Richie and Jackson recorded demo tracks for each performer that would be participating in the epic production of the song.
As a way to guarantee the success of “We Are The World,” the stars enlisted the help of 44 of their fellow artists from across all music genres, including Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.
The top-secret recording session started late one January night following the American Music Awards. The artists recorded until after sunrise the next morning. The result? One of the most epic collaborations in music history.
The song continues to touch people with its message of unity and love. In fact, in 2010 – 25 years after the original – artists came together once again to record the song, this time to benefit Haiti. If you recall, Haiti suffered heartbreaking earthquakes that year.
Watch the official video for “We Are The World” below and be on the lookout for some familiar faces.