By Anifowoshe George
Like the old version, a host of world-renowned singers all came under one roof for a common cause- to raise funds for the hopeless and the helpless - this time: victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Celine Dion, Akon, Pink, Black Eyed Peas, Wyclef Jean, Usher Raymond, Toni Braxton, Kanye West, LL Cool J, Tony Bennett, Jamie Foxx, Snoop Dogg, Swizz beats, Erique Iglesias and Carlos Santana are some of the singers that teamed up with actors and celebrities to record the new version of the song at Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood, California U.S.A. under the supervision of Quincy Jones...
And so, after twenty- five good years, the classical charity single ‘‘we are the world’’ recorded by late Pop Star Michael Jackson and USA for Africa, is completely reborn. With a new set of singers and producers, will justice be done to the new version of the evergreen song?
Producer of the original version Quincy Jones gives a speech at the recording
Celine Dion and others sing to help HaitiDiana Ross and late Micheal Jackson doing the original version of the song
‘‘We are the world’’ – 25 Quick Facts
- Originally composed by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie for famine victims in Africa featuring artistes like Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers and Tina Turner.
- Was recorded on January 28, 1985 but released in March 7, 1985 as the only single of the album.
3 The historic recording brought together some of the most famous artists in the music industry at that time and was co-produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian
4 The idea of the song came from activist Harry Belafonte and fundraiser Ken Kragen
5 By the end of the year 1985, it had become the best selling record- the first ever single to be certified multi-platinum.
6 A month after its release, it was number one hit on the R &B singles chart, the Hot Adult Contemporary tracks charts and the Billboard hot 100.
7 The song became the first single since Beatles ‘‘let it be’’ to enter Billboard’s top 5 within weeks of its release.
8 The single reached number in charts outside the US-France, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
9 The song was a great commercial success selling 800,000 records within three days of its release.
10 The song is the fastest –selling American pop single in history.
11 The song received a 4x certification by the Recording Industry Association of America.
12 Three Grammy awards
13 The biggest-selling single of all time
14 The song was awarded two honors at the 1985 MTV video Music Awards- the best group video and viewer’s choice.
15 The video of the song became the ninth best-selling video of 1985
16 Four months after it’s release, the USA for Africa had taken in almost $10.8 million with majority coming from record sales.
17 In May 1985, merchandize of the song raked in between $45 to $47 million around the world.
18 One year after the release of the song, organizers had raised $44.5 for Africa’s humanitarian fund.
19 As at 2009, the song had sold more than 20 million units and raised $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US
20 The newest version borne out a need to raise funds for victims of the Haiti earthquake was recorded on February 1, 2010.
21 The new version ‘’25 for Haiti’’ was held in the same place as the original a day after the Grammy awards
22 Janet Jackson took her late brother’s part in the new song.
23 The new song features artistes like Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx, Akon, India.Arie, Tony Bennett, Brandy, Natalie Cole, Melanie Fiona, Ursher and Wyclef Jean.
24 The 2010 version of ‘‘we are the world’’ is scheduled to debut on US TV channel NBC on February 12, 2010 during the coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2010 winter Olympics.
25 Academy award- winning film director Paul Haggis is involved with the production of a 3D music video to accompany the new version.