We Are The World, Revisited

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 GeldofKnighthood, 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:



12 thoughts on “We Are The World, Revisited”

  1. Kind of makes our little food drive in Port Saint Lucie, FL (This Saturday) look a little lame, but what the heck! …. we’re all going to be there!

  2. Beautiful, yes. And I remember both this well.
    But I’ll tell you what would have pleased my heart a little more, and that is if the people taking part had removed all their make up and put on ‘normal every day clothes’ and just been their own, normal, not-celebrity selves. Because the contrast between people starving to death and these folk in the video is… too vivid.

    But then… maybe they wouldn’t have done as much good.

    We are the world, but often it’s a very sad world.

    Thanks for the chance to replay the video and the memories, Mitch.

    1. Celebrities don’t put on every day clothes. That, plus they all had just left from an awards ceremony; I think it would have been asking too much, almost like asking Boy George to remove his makeup. lol

  3. This song is truly an immortal one. I still get goosebumps whenever I get to hear it. As I am typing this, I have got it playing in the background and it still affects me deeply. Thanks for reminding me of this great piece of music with an unbeatable as well as possibly never to be repeated ensemble.

  4. I remember the time this album get live. It was everywhere, even in my history books which was unbelievable. This was amazing project, really successful and I don’t think that anybody had a chance to repeat this success.

    1. It would be hard to do, for sure. They did get together to do a remake for Haiti relief; not sure where it went.

  5. Still a masterpiece. My son became addicted to this song right after Michael Jackson died. He plays it every couple of days and always tries to enlighten my wife and me about it, forgetting that we were the ones who told him about it in the first place. I had bought the 30-minute VHS tape when it first came out, but it no longer plays. I guess it’s time to get the DVD. Thanks, Mitch!

    1. No problem. You know, I’m not sure I have that on VHS or not now that you mention it. Being me, I probably do have it somewhere around here.

  6. Mitch, this song is simply priceless. What I am trying to say is, the heart and soul that was put into making this kind of heartwarming song and lyrics are one of its kind.

    How I wish Michael Jackson is still alive though.

    1. I’m with you Ron. I’m just so glad there’s so much material that he was a part of, including this song. And to think, there were a lot of critics who questioned their motives, hated the song, etc.

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