Tuesday, May 02, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-USA For Africa

Artist:USA For Africa
Song:We Are The World
DVD:We Are The World: The Story Behind The Song

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the 1985 charity single We Are The World by the all star group United Support of Artists (USA) For Africa. The idea to produce this to benefit African famine relief was clearly influenced by the 1984 charity single Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid featuring British pop singers led by Bob Geldof. It's something that Harry Belafonte had wanted to do for a while. He contacted the powerful manager Ken Kragen who got the ball rolling. Kragen manages Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers. Richie got Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones involved. Richie and Jackson wrote We Are the World. Most of the criticism of the song was that it was too schmaltzy. Look, it was written by Lionel Richie. All of his songs are schmaltzy. The decision was made to record We Are The World on Jan. 28, 1985, the night of the American Music Awards because the whole music industry would be there. The song was finished a week earlier and though he is never mentioned when discussing the history of this record, veteran producer Michael Omartian arranged the record. Omartian also played keyboards along with David Paich, Michael Boddicker and Greg Phillinganes, Louis Johnson on bass, John Robinson on drums and Paulinho da Costa on percussion. That had to be finished before the singers arrived. Jones' vocal arranger Tom Bahler decided who would sing what. After Jackson recorded his solo, the singers all arrived and the song was recorded. Of course the song topped the charts and it raised a lot of money for African famine relief. Kragen was in charge of distributing the money. There was a We Are The World album with various artists donating songs. It's out of print. But there is a DVD with documentaries and behind the scenes stuff. In 2010, there was a remake of We Are The World recorded to benefit post earthquake Haiti. Wyclef Jean was heavily involved in this and he brought in rappers to participate. That just shows how influential We Are The World was. I'm not going to get into the individual singers on the record. It would take up too much space. Everyone should know most of the singers. But if you're not sure, ask me and I'll tell you. Here's the video for We Are The World by USA For Africa.

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