Song Lyric Sunday | “We Are the World” – USA for Africa

Song Lyric Sunday_new

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is I/Me/Them/Us/You/We.

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The first song I thought of for this week’s prompt was We Are Family by Sister Sledge. Having five sisters (two older, three younger), it’s been our sibling theme song since its release in 1979.

But then, I realized my second favorite We song had just passed a milestone too. We Are the World, a charity single originally recorded by the supergroup, USA for Africa, turned thirty-five last month.

Following Band Aid’s 1984 Do They Know It’s Christmas? project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for African famine relief came from activist Harry Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen, was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality. Several musicians were contacted by the pair, before Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie were assigned the task of writing the song. The duo completed the writing of We Are the World seven weeks after the release of Do They Know It’s Christmas?, and one night before the song’s first recording session, on January 21, 1985. The historic event brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at the time.

The song was released on March 7, 1985, as the first single from the album. A worldwide commercial success, topping music charts throughout the world and becoming the fastest-selling American pop single in history. The first ever single to be certified multi-platinum, We Are the World received a Quadruple Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.

In all, more than 45 of America’s top musicians participated in the recording, and another 50 had to be turned away. Upon entering the recording studio, the musicians were greeted by a sign pinned to the door which read, “Please check your egos at the door.” They were also greeted by Stevie Wonder, who proclaimed that if the recording was not completed in one take, he and Ray Charles, two blind men, would drive everybody home.

FUN FACTS

    • Awarded numerous honors—including three Grammy Awards, one American Music Award, and a People’s Choice Award—the song was promoted with a critically received music video, a home video, a special edition magazine, a simulcast, and several books, posters, and shirts. The promotion and merchandise aided the success of We Are the World and raised over $63 million (equivalent to $147 million today) for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.
    •  The song became the first single since The Beatles’ Let It Be to enter Billboards Top 5 within two weeks of release.
    • Outside of the US, the single reached number one in Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The song peaked at number 2 in only two countries: Germany and Austria.
    • Elias Kifle Maraim Beyene, a survivor from Ethiopia being asked about his memory of Michael Jackson after his death remembers:

      I won’t ever forget Michael Jackson because his contribution to the song We are the World had a very significant effect on my life. I am 50 now but 25 years ago I was living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which at that time was suffering from a long drought and famine. It was a terrible situation. Lots of people became sick and many more died. Around one million people in all were killed by the famine. In 1984 Michael Jackson, along with a number of other leading musicians, made the song We are the World to raise money for Africa. We received a lot of aid from the world and I was one of those who directly benefited from it. The wheat flour that was distributed to the famine victims was different to the usual cereal we bought at the market. We baked a special bread from it. The local people named the bread after the great artist and it became known as Michael Bread.

USA for Africa participants:

Conductor
 • Quincy Jones
Soloists (in order of 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
 • Ray Charles
Chorus (alphabetically)
 • Dan Aykroyd
 • Harry Belafonte
 • Lindsey Buckingham
 • Mario Cipollina
 • Johnny Colla
 • Sheila E.
 • Bob Geldof
 • Bill Gibson
 • Chris Hayes
 • Sean Hopper
 • Jackie Jackson
 • La Toya Jackson
 • Marlon Jackson
 • Randy Jackson
 • Tito Jackson
 • Waylon Jennings
 • Bette Midler
 • John Oates
 • Jeffrey Osborne
 • The Pointer Sisters
 • Smokey Robinson
Instrument players
 • John Barnes – keyboards & arrangement
 • David Paich – synthesizers
 • Michael Boddicker – synthesizers, programming
 • Paulinho da Costa – percussion
 • Louis Johnson – synth bass
 • Michael Omartian – keyboards
 • Greg Phillinganes – keyboards
 • John Robinson – drums

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

~~~

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

We Are the World

by USA for Africa

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie

 

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and mee
We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
Oh, let me hear you!
We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you
We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah
We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!
We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

 

 

16 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “We Are the World” – USA for Africa

    • This still gives me chills. It was amazing they all came together for such a worthy cause, but also this group of people defined 80s music. A hit song comes to mind for each one.

      Thanks for stopping by! 😊💕

      Like

  1. This may be the greatest song ever recorded. The meaning behind these lyrics, uniting together to save lives is so awesome. What a message, uniting people instead of dividing them and encouraging people to give. You and me, so perfect, thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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