Stars gather to cover 'We Are the World' for Haiti
Published: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 10:14 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — More than 75 mega-stars gathered Monday to re-record the 1985 charity anthem "We are the World" in the same Hollywood recording studio where the original was cut 25 years ago.
Pink, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, the Jonas Brothers, Kanye West, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Hudson, Akon and other musical luminaries stood shoulder to shoulder on risers at Henson Recording studios, singing their hearts out and hoping to help Haiti.
Quincy Jones, who produced the 1985 anthem, announced last week that he planned to redo the song to benefit recovery from the deadly Jan. 12 earthquake in Port-au-Prince.
Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the original "We Are the World" thundered up the charts when it was released on the radio and in record stores in March 1985.
An unprecedented number of top pop musicians gathered at A&M the night of Jan. 28, 1985, following the American Music Awards, to record the tune. The song featured 45 American superstars, including Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper.
The record raised more than $30 million for USA for Africa, a nonprofit organization founded by the singers to fund hunger relief in African nations.
True to her diva reputation, Barbra Streisand recorded her solo over and over, completely absorbed in the recording process and stopping only to correct her pitch.
While reporters watched a video feed of the session in a nearby room, stars like Kayne West mingled outside with friends, greeting his buddy, Snoop Dogg with a hug.
Julianne Hough from "Dancing with the Stars," who is also a country singer, was only 3 years old when the original tune came out. She said she felt honored to lend her voice to the effort and sing next to so many talented musicians.
"It's just iconic. Celine (Dion) is just so gracious and amazing and such a pro," she said.
The session was all the talk at Sunday night's Grammy festivities. 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," he said. "It's about Haiti."
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