Friday, May 18, 2007
Monumental Soundbyte - 4
USA For Africa - We Are The World
This song is a part of my childhood. I remember being younger and seeing the video for this, my parents having the record that had the words and me singing this song endlessly.
Then i got older and my music obsession began, and i got the "inside scoop" on the phenomenon that is this song.
This song was written my Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie with the arrangements and orchestration done by Quincy Jones. USA For Africa is a mesh of artists from different genres and the aim of this song which was released as a single, was to contribute all proceeds to Ethiopia which was going through one of the worst famines in history.
This song is just amazing. The words are fantastic and apparently, after the American Music Awards of 84, all the artists got into their limos and headed to the studio as they were, donned white USA For Africa tshirts and recorded this song in one night. 45 artists including Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, MJ, Cyndi Lauper, Darryl & Oates, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, Jeffrey Osbourne, Dionne Warwick etc.
MJ actually didnt attend the awards that night choosing to record the chorus for the song so each artist could just do their part. That man is a workaholic...
There is of course some drama with some artists having issues with some of the lyrics which were sorted out, some invited artists refusing to participate (Madonna, Prince, Sheena Easton etc - but they all participated the next year during the Live Aid concert) etc...
This song won a grammy and went on to inspire praise and criticism alike and has been parodied and covered endlessly. Last year, Shell (the oil & gas giant), covered the song and used some of its lyrics for their internal anthem which somehow got into the public domain. My views on this? ...Not for this post...LOL
I remember the video for this song. It was really a video of the live recording session - with shots of Diana Ross clad in black stretching, MJ looking so hot (i used to have a crush on him) and everyone singing into the microphones. Everytime i hear this song, i see the video and can see each artist singing their part. I think this song is a cultural phenomenon and everyone needs to know the words to this song and have it in their collection. Enjoy!
*If you would like this song, leave an email address in the comments section*