It's one of the best-selling singles of all time. Here is the story of the charity song "We Are The World".
In 1984, singer Harry Belafonte decided to gather the greatest artists of his time to record a charity album to help raise funds to fight the famine in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, which had claimed the lives of more than a million people at the time of the song's release.He managed to gather more than 40 American stars of the song among which we find the voices of Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, or Billy Joel.
In addition to the many singers, the two authors of the song are the famous Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson, both members of the "USA for Africa" collective. Working together to compose "We Are the World", Michael Jackson came up with the final track only in a few hours.
The charity album "USA for Africa: We Are the World" was finally released on March 7, 1985, supported by a colossal promotion. The album is a success : it is sold to more than 20 million copies and allows to send 63 million dollars to help Ethiopia. It became the best- selling humanitarian album of all time. “We Are The World » also won 3 Grammy Awards and became the first multi-platinum selling single.
More recently, in 2020, in the face of the global pandemic caused by Covid-19, Lionel Richie, one of the song's writers, called for a new version of the song. In May, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan sang « We Are The World » - American Idol 2020 with current contestants and former winners of the show American Idol to help fight the virus and support the health care personel.
This song, which became a cult song in the 80s, has become a universal anthem, timeless, but above all a symbol of mutual aid.