On January 28, 1985, 47 of the world's biggest music stars, including Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Cyndi Lauper and Diana Ross, gathered in a Los Angeles studio to record. We are the world. This unique moment in music history is chronicled in a new Netflix documentary, Bob's best night ever. Here are seven things to know about this legend.
1. Michael instead of Stevie
A few months after the success of the charity song Do they know it's Christmas?, designed for the Band Aid event, Harry Belafonte wanted to create an American version to aid famine in Africa. With the help of producer Ken Cragan, he asked Lionel Richie if he would like to co-write a song with Stevie Wonder. The problem? The latter is nowhere to be found. Then Michael Jackson came to the rescue.
2. Se servir des American Music Awards
How do you get dozens of big stars in one room? Since everyone would be in Los Angeles, we came up with the idea of holding the recording of the song on the same night as the American Music Awards. With Lionel Richie hosting the gala, we hoped it would bring more stars on board.
3. A race against time
A few days before the gala, the cast of stars was completed, but the famous song was not yet written! Producer Quincy Jones began pressuring Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. Both the artists got together and shared ideas. And magic made its way.
Once the demo was recorded, about fifty cassettes were sent to the different artists involved. Above all, this record should not be leaked to the media. Thus the location of the studio was kept a secret until the end. After the gala, Lionel Richie was asked by journalists about this famous project, and he said that he knew very little about it.
5. Lionel's Big Wreath
Lionel Richie will probably remember January 28, 1985 for the rest of his life. That evening, he hosted the American Music Awards. In addition to presenting two shows, he won no fewer than six trophies! Immediately, he went into the studio to record We are the world. “When I came home, my family members greeted me for the gala,” he said. But that's all I wanted to talk about We are the world They don't know what it is!”
6. Like Kindergarten
At A&M Studios, the big stars started arriving after 11 p.m. Almost all the big names in pop music since 1985 have been there. Everyone was excited. “It was like the first day of kindergarten,” Lionel Richie said. Bob Geldof, the man behind Band Aid, brought back some seriousness by explaining to the artists why they were there and what the song could do for Africa.
7. Million dollars raised
At the end of the documentary, it is mentioned that We are the world It has raised over US$80 million for humanitarian causes in Africa. Upon its release, the song became a huge hit and is still making money almost 40 years after its release.
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