Friday, July 14, 2006


Remember this song from the eighties??? I remember when, as an impressionable young kid, I would stay glued to the T.V. during lunch time watching MTV on Ch. 2, hoping that they would feature this song (it was summer when the song was released, so I had the opportunity to watch T.V. throughout the day). Fortunately, this song stayed on the charts for weeks on end, so I was a happy kid.

After surfing the web for more info on this song and its history, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this song celebrated its 20th year anniversary last year. (Grabe...20 years na pala...ang tanda ko na...) This single, released on 8 March 1985, became the quickest selling record in music industry history. Harry Belafonte, the one who initiated the idea after watching a news report on the famine in Africa during the Christmas of ’84, remembers fondly how the single came to life. It was actually inspired by the success of the British supergroup Band Aid and their 1984 fundraising single “Do They Know It's Christmas?”. The performers gathered at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, California, on 28 January 1985. Ken Kragen, Belafonte’s manager, selected the night of the American Music Awards to ensure as many artists as possible could attend.

If Belafonte was the conscience of the project, legendary producer Quincy Jones was the maestro. Twenty years later, he still has the lucky sweater he wore to corral all that talent and remembers the warning he gave them: "Check your egos at the door."

What many people don’t know is that the song was written by two pop icons: Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. (Michael is such a big icon in pop history. I hope he turns his creativity and talent to worthwhile pursuits like this.) Lead vocals were rotated among 21 of the performers, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. (more info on this site.)

Here are some excerpts from the song. It hope it touches your heart the same way it has, time and again, touched mine. (For the complete lyrics, please visit this site.)

We Are The World
( USA for Africa )

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, somehow will 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

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