“We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Strange Talking Street Medicine

Moderators: Andrew, T-Bone

“We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Postby tater1977 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:19 am

“We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago
By Dodie Miller-Gould - April 27, 2018

https://www.lemonwire.com/2018/04/27/we ... years-ago/

“We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

It was today in 1985 that “We Are the World” went to No. 1 on music charts around the world. The song was recorded by USA for Africa, probably the world’s largest supergroup comprised of some of the world’s most famous performers. The story of how the single came to be one of the most popular songs in the world, and the records it set along the way is a rather fascinating one. “We Are the World” is the effort by USA for Africa to raise money for famine relief in Africa.

It came about after Band-Aid, the UK supergroup organized by Boomtown Rats lead singer Bob Geldof, had released its “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” According to music industry lore, Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson managed to write the song the night before recording was supposed to begin. The relief effort though, had been coordinated by singer Harry Belafonte and fundraiser and activist, Ken Kragen. “We Are the World” was released on March 7, 1985.

“We Are the World”: a recording and video phenomenon

For people who were old enough to be aware of “We Are the World,” it is difficult to imagine replicating the effort in today’s music industry. It is also difficult to imagine the resulting effort bringing generations of families together. Maybe things were simpler then, but the overwhelming popularity of the song and by extension, the video, seemed an integral part of the time period’s music and video culture. That culture in large part, is non-existent today.

There exists a plethora of stories about the difficulties of getting 45 popular singers together for one project, for deciding who would sing the mini-solos, and even for deciding who would stand where. The actual recording was done the same night after the American Music Awards were held. Of all the famous people who still represent 1980’s culture, who wasn’t part of the project, Prince is notably absent. Nevertheless, those in attendance included five of Michael Jackson’s siblings, Stevie Wonder, Steve Perry, Kim Carnes, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, and so on to produce a star-studded recording and video that captivated the listening public.

From the comfort of their own homes, individuals, and often families could watch the video for “We Are the World.” The video was an event for a few different reasons: 1. The song was longer than the typical video, it was almost seven minutes long; the album version was more than seven minutes in duration; 2. The reason for the song was a good cause. Americans were being bombarded with images of famine-stricken Africans in the 1980s. Finally, there was a way to help with the cause and get a recording with a catchy (if sentimental), hook. 3. The video was interesting because it allowed fans to play a game of sorts of spotting who was among the performers in the video.

And it seemed that while the song “We Are the World” was on the charts, the video was in heavy rotation on Music Television. People were drawn to the song and its video, to the idea, perhaps, of watching stars do an act of charity. They were actually singing, the thing that made them famous, and they were lending that talent to a cause that most people agreed was a good one.

“We Are the World” chart placing and success

The song was the first song to be certified quadruple platinum. A few years ago, Rolling Stone magazine presented a breakdown of “We Are the World’s” recording process, which was done overnight. The song went to number on almost every chart. It even placed on country and rap and r&b sections of Billboard. Internationally, it was No. 1 everywhere, except for two countries where it stalled at No. 2. In terms of competition, Phil Collins’ “One More Night” was the song that vied for No. 1 with “We Are the World,” as the single’s strongest contender on the pop charts. The popularity of “We Are the World,” cannot be denied. The initial pressing of 800,000 copies sold out less than a week.

In more recent times, “We Are the World” has not fared as well. It receives 2 stars out of 5 on All Music.com. The song is largely considered a product of its time and it “fails” by modern standards because of some of the stars included at the time who ultimately didn’t have lengthy careers, or the use of production values that were acceptable at the time, but not much after 1985.

Music criticism aside, USA for Africa is still an organization that intends to help the continent’s residents. To date, according to its website, $100 million has been raised for the organization’s various efforts.

“We Are the World” was interesting in the mid-1980s because in an age before the Internet, before social media, and reality shows, it gave audiences a close-up look at some of the decade’s most famous performers doing an act of charity.
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the venue.TR.com
tater1977
Stereo LP
 
Posts: 4664
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:05 am
Location: USA

Re: “We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Postby perryfan61 » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:30 am

Loved the video on the making of this recording. So many faces that are no longer with us. It deserves a place in the RHOF.
The injury that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance. Steve Perry
User avatar
perryfan61
8 Track
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:46 am
Location: New Brunswick. Canada

Re: “We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Postby bellairepark73 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:53 pm

Those who critize WATW do so for contrite and petty reasons and completely, COMPLETELY miss the point. It was to help. Get over it hindsighters.
bellairepark73
45 RPM
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:48 am

Re: “We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Postby Aaron » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:28 pm

If you watch the original cut Perry OWNS his part. He steps up and does 3 or 4 different melodies for his part while Hall reads the same part and sings the same part every time. No disrespect to Hall. Perry OWNED that session. Listen to the original cuts. No one better has walked the planet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwEOOgv5unE
Taking life a quarter mile at a time .... [img]
User avatar
Aaron
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1932
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2002 9:55 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: “We Are the World” captivated a nation 33 years ago

Postby perryfan61 » Tue May 01, 2018 12:23 am

Aaron wrote:If you watch the original cut Perry OWNS his part. He steps up and does 3 or 4 different melodies for his part while Hall reads the same part and sings the same part every time. No disrespect to Hall. Perry OWNED that session. Listen to the original cuts. No one better has walked the planet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwEOOgv5unE


A master craftsman at work.
The injury that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance. Steve Perry
User avatar
perryfan61
8 Track
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:46 am
Location: New Brunswick. Canada


Return to Steve Perry

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest