Most people today look back on the 1985 track as an old poor quality song, but “We Are the World” sold over 20 million copies. The song sailed across the world, ranking in honors and revenue, and became the first single to ever be certified as multi-platinum.
With 3 Grammys, an American Music Award, and a People’s Choice Award bestowed upon the single, but most importantly it raised more than $63 million for charity in Africa and the United States.
The single was originated by activist Harry Belafonte. The King of Calypso was a key contributor moving forward as well, responsible in part for bringing Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie on board to write the single.
Legendary 28-time Grammy Award winner Quincy Jones was one of the song’s producers. Among the singers on the track were soloists Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick, as well as chorus members like Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, and several of the Jackson siblings.
After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the song was re-recorded. Notable Black artists for the new release included Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, Usher, T-Pain, Kanye West, and many more.