A couple of days ago I was walking on the track at the gym when a song came on the MP3 player that gave me chills. Even though the anniversary was in January, 25 years ago the song We Are The World came out, with the intention of helping to feed and take care of people in Africa who were going through one of the worst famines in history. Unfortunately, many of them are still going through it, but that doesn’t mean this effort was wasted.
As I listened to this song my mind went back to remembering the day that song was released, along with the video, and all the star power that got together to create that bad boy. There was something that was almost like it before, the Do They Know It’s Christmas song in the UK, but when it came to true music power, the second song couldn’t be touched. And Bob Geldof, who had started the UK movement, was there as well.
Of course it had to be written by my boy Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones. I remember watching the “making of” video also, where the proclamation “leave your egos at the door” was posted. And it would have been easy for many people in that room to assume they were the stars of the event, even Michael Jackson, but I’ve always believed that no one but Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones could have gotten all those people together after the American Music Awards, which I watched, not knowing these people were getting together later that evening and, for many hours, were putting this thing together.
Okay, here’s some stats for you to prove my point on just how special this gathering was:
Michael Jackson – Please!
Lionel Richie – ASCAP award, 4 Grammys, an Oscar, Image Award, Gershwin Prize, 13 American Music Awards (AMA), Golden Globe, 4 People’s Choice Awards
Stevie Wonder – 3 ASCAP awards, an Oscar, BAFTA award, Golden Globe, TV Land award, 25 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Rock Hall of Fame, Billboard Century Award, Gershwin Prize
Paul Simon – 12 Grammys, 2 AMA’s, inducted twice into the Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honor, 39 BMI Awards
Kenny Rogers – 3 Grammys, 10 Country Music Association awards, 13 American Music Awards
Tina Turner – 8 Grammys, Hall of Fame
Billy Joel – 6 honorary doctorates, 5 Grammys, 1 Tony, 1 AMA, Hall of Fame
Diana Ross – 6 AMAs, 2 Grammys, 1 Golden Globe, 1 Tony, 1 NAACP award, Billboard female entertainer of century (twice!), Kennedy Center award, Hall of Fame
Dionne Warwick – 5 Grammys, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards (induction of songs performed by the artist), 1st People’s Choice Award for best female singer, NAACP Image Award, 1 AMA, 1 Billboard, ASCAP Lifetime Achievement and Heroes Award, Songwriters Hall of Fame
Willie Nelson – 12 Grammys, 7 Country Music Awards, 7 AMAs, 5 Academy of Country Music awards, TNN Music City News Minnie Pearl Award & Living Legend Award, Country Music Hall of Fame
Al Jarreau – 7 Grammys, 2 NAACP awards
Bruce Springsteen – 20 Grammys, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 1 Oscar, Hall of Fame, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Kennedy Honors
Kenny Loggins – 1 Grammy
Daryl Hall & John Oates – 3 AMA’s, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame
Huey Lewis – 5 AMAs, 2 Grammys
Cyndi Lauper – 2 AMA, 1 Grammy, 1 MTV Video Award
Kim Carnes – 2 Grammys, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame
Bob Dylan – 11 Grammys, 6 Grammys, 2 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, Rock Hall of Fame, 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe, 2 honorary doctorates, Songwriter’s, Kennedy Honors, Pulitzer
Ray Charles – 17 Grammys, 6 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, R&B Foundation Hall of Fame, National Medal of Arts, Jazz Hall of Fame, Polar Music Prize
Harry Belafonte – 4 Grammy’s, Emmy, Kennedy Award, Hollywood Film Award, Tony, National Medal or Arts, Grammy Lifetime Achievement, BET Humanitarian Award, Impact Award
Bob Geldof – Knighthood, Freeman of the Borough of Swale, Beacon Fellowship Prize, Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, North-South Prize, Free Your Mind Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards, Man of Peace Award, Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award by Holocaust Museum in Houston, Cinema for Peace Pioneer Award, nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal from Vanderbilt University for his humanitarian efforts, Lifetime Achievement Award from ROTA.
Waylon Jennings – 4 CMAs, 2 Grammy’s, 1 ACM, Country Hall of Fame, ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award
Bette Midler – 4 Grammys, 3 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes, 9 American Comedy Awards, 2 People’s Choice, Ruby Award, Tony, Crystal Awards
Smokey Robinson – 3 Grammys, Soul Train Heritage Award for Career Achievement, Hall of Fame, Kennedy Award, National Medal of Arts
Man, it just doesn’t get any better than that, and I left people out who have won other awards. We Are The World was the top selling single in history with more than 20 million copies sold and it raised $63 million for famine relief, and it’s presently the 5th best selling single. It won 3 Grammys, an American Music Award and a People’s Choice award. The video for the song won a Grammy as well.
And now, We Are The World: