January 28, 1985, Hollywood California. The biggest stars in the music business-from (co-writers) Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie to Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles, from Dylan and Springsteen to Tina Turner and Willie Nelson, from Diana Ross to Paul Simon and Huey Lewis entered A&M Studios to record one of the great charity anthems-”We Are The World”.
Harry Belafonte came up with the original idea for “We Are The World”-following the smashing success of Bob Geldof and Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Proceeds, which eventually totaled more than $60 million dollars, benefited “USA For Africa”, providing relief to the people of Africa, and Ethiopia, where more than 1 million people died in the famines of 1984-85.
Released in March of 1985, “We Are The World” sold more than 10 million copies. It won 3 Grammy Awards. And while some critics questioned the lyrics, or said the song was not direct enough in addressing the famine; this much is surely true: There can never be anything bad about raising awareness for the plight of those in need.
On Good Friday of 1985, some 8,000 radio stations across the country played “We Are the World”, in snych, at 10:25 am EST. I remember hearing that moment while while on vacation, visiting my parents in Sarasota. Where were you?