Twenty-five years after an all-star roster of talent gathered to record ‘We Are the World’ to aid famine relief in Africa, a new generation has re-interpreted the Grammy-winning track to benefit Haiti this week. Rolling Stone reported among the stars heading to the studio tonight were Jay-Z, Eminem, Pink, Kanye West, Bono, Wyclef Jean, Jennifer Hudson, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga.
The music world took the charitable cause of aiding famine relief in Africa to heart in the mid-1980s, raising millions in the process. After Bob Geldof’s BandAid rang the alarm with “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in 1984, America’s own Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and the late Michael Jackson answered with the anthem “We Are the World” in support of USA for Africa.
Twenty-five years later, Jones is produced an updated version of the Grammy-winning song to benefit the relief effort in Haiti, which continues to suffer from the devastating earthquake that struck the island on January 12.
Recorded the Tuesday night after this year’s glittering Grammy Awards, Jones would not initially confirm the new all-star roster, saying “We’ve got to make sure we’ve got who we got.” However,Rolling Stone did report that among the 75-plus stars participating in the project were newly Grammy-ed winners Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Fergie and Eminem. Also reported to have contributed werePink, Tony Bennett, Kanye West, the Jones Brothers, Jennifer Hudson, Akon, Jason Mraz,Bono, Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Celine Dion and the legendaryBarbra Streisand. The session was held at the historic A&M Studios in Hollywood, the same location where the original song was recorded.
Music producer RedOne said being asked to participate was “the biggest honor a musician can ever do. Having Quincy, our father of music … and Lionel Richie asking me to contribute and help, I said of course, because this is not about me. It’s about Haiti.”
The original version of “We Are the World” was recorded January 28, 1985, directly after that year’s American Music Awards. Among the 45 American recording aftists participating with Jackson and Richie were, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross,Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper. The song and accompanying album went on to raise more than $30 million for USA for Africa, a non-profit organization founded by the singers to aid hunger relief in African nations.