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USA For Africa - We Are The World

Written by Michael with Lionel Richie, as America's answer to Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas, and recorded by USA For Africa to aid famine relief in Ethiopia - issued in March 1985.

USA For Africa: United Support of Artists For Africa.

The song was completed on 21st January 1985, and recorded the following evening, immediately after the American Music Awards ceremony in Hollywood.

Sir Bob Geldof, in his autobiography, spoke of Michael practising the song in various keys. "Each one was perfect", he wrote, "and for anyone else would have been a take, rather than a practise."



Soloists, in order of appearance on the record: Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Donnie Warwick, Williw Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.

Chorus included La Toya, Randy, Marlon, Tito and Jackie Jackson (but not Jermaine or Janet - the latter was particularly upset at not getting an invite).

No.1 on both American charts, and in Australia, Belgium, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the UK.

RIAA Platinum Record (x4).

No.1 best selling single of 1985, and no.5 best selling single of all time, in the USA.

Estimated global sales: 7 million (about the same as Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas).

Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, Best Music Video - Short Form.

American Music Awards: Song of the Year.

People's Choice Awards: Favourite New Song.

A second version was recorded by Children Of The World (a group of children including Drew Barrymore, Kim Fields and Alfonso Ribeiro) - Michael is on record as saying he prefers this version. "Since first writing it, I had thought that song should be sung by children," he said, "When I finally heard children singing it on producer George Duke's version, I almost cried - it's the best version I've heard."

USA Foundation for Africa, by the end of 1985, had raised around $40 million to aid famine relief in Africa.

It was part of a lawsuit heard in Mexico in 1993, when Robert Smith (aka Robert Austin), Reynard Jones and Clifforf Rubin claimed in infringed the songs, What Becomes Of The Children and If There Be You - the judgement was in Michael and Lionel Richie's favour.

Performed by Pavarotti & Friends concert in 1999, by Pavarotti with Boyzone, Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie - Michael was scheduled to appear, but cancelled as his son Prince was unwell.

Performed by Michael and his guests as the finale of the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebtration, The Solo Years concerts, staged in New York's Madison Square Garden on 7th and 10th September 2001 - omitted from the televised edit.

Performed by Michael and his guests at his 'Celebration Of Love' 45th birthday, staged in Los Angeles on 30th August 2003.

Demo version by Michael included on his box-set, The Ultimate Collection, issued in November 2004.


We Are The World - Lyrics

Lionel Richie
There comes a time when we heed a certain call

Lionel Richie & Stevie Wonder
When the world must come together as one

Stevie Wonder
There are people dying

Paul Simon
And it's time to lend a hand to life

Paul Simon & Kenny Rogers
The greatest gift of all

Kenny Rogers
We can't go on pretending day by day

James Ingram
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change

Tina turner
We are all part of god's great big family

Billy Joel
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

Chorus:
Michael Jackson
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Diana Ross
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives

Michael & Diana Ross
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Dionne Warwick
Send them your heart
So they'll know that someone cares

Dionne Warwick & Willie Nelson
And their lives will be stronger and free

Willie Nelson
As god has shown us by turning stones to bread

Al Jarreau
So we all must lend a helping hand

Chorus:
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

Bob Dylan
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Michael Jackson
When you're down and out, there seems no hope at all

Huey Lewis
But if you just believe there's no way we can fall

Cindy Lauper
Well, well, well, well let us realize that a change can only come

Kim Carnes
When we stand together as one

Chorus:
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving

There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

We are the world......



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