"We Are the World" was a song written with charity in mind. The song was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson and recorded by a group of popular musicians who referred to themselves as the USA for Africa. This was in 1985; Quincy Jones with Michael Omartian were the men behind the production of the song. The song has sold over twenty million copies worldwide, and this money has gone to various charity organizations all over the world. The song was in response to the big hunger that was affecting parts of Africa and causing great suffering to the people in this region. The song was meant to raise funds and at the same time create awareness of the problems in Africa so that those who have ability can act to avoid further hardships for the people.
Harry Belafonte was the man behind the idea; his initial intention was to create an aid concert made up of musicians from the African American descent. Ken Kragen, who later became the leader of the organization called United Support of Artists for Africa, came up with the idea of the popular “Band Aid”. Ken Kragen also owned a company that was involved in television production. Lionel Ritchie was one of his clients, and he thought it was good to share with him the idea of raising funds for Africa. The song was inspired by the afro pop beat that was the hit at that time and this has contributed to making and keeping it the hit that it is even today. The other intriguing factor that makes the song a masterpiece is the fact that all those singers came from different genres of music but managed to accommodate each other. The beat of the song was not oriented on a particular genre like reggae, soul or pop. It was recorded in a tone and beat that unified all the genres: thus, it is appealing to all audiences despite their inclination to a particular type of music. The wife of Lionel went forward to seek the support of Steve Wonder who agreed to be part of the plan.
A number of famous musicians were involved, and after months of hard work the song was recorded on January 28, 1985; this was on the night of American Music Awards and it would ensure that all the musicians are available. As the instrumentals were recorded well ahead of time, they were sent to all the musicians who were thought to be interested in the show. The instrumental recordings had a note that read "check your ego at the door." The recording was a huge success and it involved such famous names as Michael Jackson, Dan Aykroyd, James Ingram, Kenny Rogers, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick among other great musicians of that time.
The song “We Are The World” has been a household name for many years and will continue to be for long; this is because it was a song created for all time. It is a song any individual would listen to and it was meant for a good cause. It will continue for years to be a reference point for charity work all over the world. This is true with the 80 musicians who met after the Grammy Awards in January of 2010 during its 25th Anniversary for charity for Haiti people. The song has been more immense than the musicians who participated in creating it; this is because of its message and the reason it was created, and what it achieved. Although drought in Africa is still a common occurrence, the song accomplished its purpose as this disaster eased due to the proceeds from the sale of the single. Also, in 2010, there was a group of Spanish speaking musicians who were also involved in an adaptation that was referred to as the “We Are the World” campaign towards the people of Haiti.
Besides the original song having an adaptation nearly twenty years later, it has been acclaimed as one of the greatest songs of all times. The “Time” magazine published an article saying that the song will remain a classic since it involved all the musicians who made headlines in the 80’s and even today. It is still unfathomable how Harry Belafonte, the organizer, managed to get all the 45 acclaimed and award winning musicians into the same recording studio. They ranged in pitch, genre and taste in music, but by the end of the night they had managed to record a classic. The song will last the test of time mainly because of the weight of the message it carries. One cannot listen to the lyrics and fail to appreciate the power of people when they unite. Listening to the song and recognizing the voices of all those musicians is by itself magic that will make the single a classic well beyond year 2030.
After its recording, it was released on March 7th, in 1985; it was the only song in the album. Following a huge success all over the world in commercials and staying at the top of music charts, it soon became the fastest pop song from America to sell internationally in history. “We Are The World”, was also the first ever single to ever reach the certification of multi-platinum, in fact, the song received Quadruple Platinum certification. The single had a great influence on the people as there were lots of musical and racial diverse musicians who all met and composed a song for charity.
According to Alfred Publishing Staff (2010), the song has won magnificent awards such as Grammy Awards, People's Choice Award and managed to raise more than $63 million that were used in charity work in over 19 African countries and also in in various charity organizations in the United States. After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, another group of musician attempted to copy the success of this song. The group was created in February of 2010 under the name of We Are the World 25 for Haiti. The money from the sale of this song was meant for charity for the people of Haiti, as their country is highly impoverished. The song “We Are the World” has had a huge influence on musicians, and it is a demonstration that musicians from diverse backgrounds can join together and produce good music. Also, the song is an example of people joining and working together for worthy causes, like was done in helping those afflicted by drought and famine in Africa in 1984.