31 years ago today the final montage of superstar vocals were added to the back-up recording track of "We Are The World".
Many of the musicians came right to the studio after The American Music Awards were finished. The song, written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, was inspired by the recent Band Aid hit "Do They Know It's Christmas", another fund-raising venture recorded in The UK.
Under the banner "USA For Africa", the record would go on to sell in excess of 20 million copies. For those of us who lived it, that video is forever etched in our minds. It would top the US Chart for four weeks.
Soloists featured on the record included (in order of their appearance) Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles. Each was selected for the pure uniqueness of their voice.
Back-up vocalists included Michael Jackson's siblings Randy, Tito, Jackie, LaToya, The Pointer Sisters (Anita, June and Ruth), Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac, Bette Midler, John Oates, Smokey Robinson, Sheila E, Harry Belafonte (whose idea it was to record something to raise funds for African Relief in the first place), Bob Geldoff (who organized the Band Aid single several months earlier), Waylon Jennings, Jeffrey Osborne and Dan Aykroyd from Saturday Night Live.
One year after the record's release, organizers announced that proceeds from record sales of the single and other donations had raised 44.5 million dollars ... it would pass their original goal of $50 million by October of the following year.
25 years later a brand new version was recorded by contemporary artists to raise funds for the victims of the huge Haiti earthquake that left over 1.2 million people homeless.