The Greatest Night In Pop

Bao Nguyen’s enthralling music documentary, now streaming on Netflix, details the creation of the legendary anthem, We Are the World, in Los Angeles on January 25, 1985, by renowned artists who were raising money for hunger relief in Africa, inspired by legendary Harry Belafonte.
The dynamic team composed an innovative, ego-free song that would be popular for years to come. It inspired hundreds of singers who took part in the lengthy recording session—including Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones—who all share personal insights in this moving and humorous behind-the-scenes documentary film about how Belafonte influenced them. 
Even though it’s hard to imagine now, they were generous and selfless the night they recorded the song in one studio and in a world where wars ripped at the very fabric of our different beliefs and way of life, no more pertinent is a song like We Are The World
This nostalgic documentary is worth seeing thanks to the comments of Richie, Bruce Springsteen(who recounts his personal paranoia over his vocal ability on the night, after coming off a live performance across the country in Buffalo, New York), Smokey Robinson, Cindy Lauper, and others.  
Nearly half of The Greatest Night in Pop is devoted to the thrilling overnight recording session of We Are the World, but prior to that, Michael Jackson was busy in the studio working on the chorus for the song, as the singers rejoiced at the American Music Awards. With his tingling, lonely voice, Jackson, dressed in black aviators and a gold blazer, he figured it out. 
For a performance at A&M Studios, Quincy Jones gathered a horde of famous people who were as quiet as a classroom full of giggling elementary school students and stood before microphones, all while chatting excitedly. As the night (and the recording tape) rolled on, Bette Midler smoked, Huey Lewis passed by with a Budweiser, Al Jarreau was served too much, Cyndi Lauper delighted, while Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, and Stevie Wonder inspired all.  
In the account given by Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones presided over the session and ensured that it stayed on track. ‘Check Your Ego At The Door’ was the sign that hung over the studio door on the night. Jones explained technical aspects of hitting octaves and different vocal positions, convinced Stevie Wonder to play Bob Dylan’s piano part in his style and voice, and emphasised that they are singing this song to fight global hunger. 
The night following an awards show, could fifty of the most famous artists in the world have the strength to go into the studio and record? 
It was 1985, and Lionel Richie had to do it, but who would be on his flank? 
Reliving that unforgettable night in pop history is as simple as cranking up, We Are the World; it’s a constant reminder that we are the ones who can change the world—the children, the world at large—so let’s start giving back, just like those artists did, on that historic night.
-Dirk Lombard Fourie

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