Do you remember ‘We Are the World’?

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heeded a certain call, and released a monumental song.

‘We Are the World’ – written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian – was recorded for an organization called USA for Africa (USA standing for United Support of Artists).

The studio tracks were laid down over the course of several days 30 years ago at two studios around Los Angeles: Kenny Rogers’s Lion Share Recording Studios on Beverly Boulevard, and – in the dark of the overnight hours – at LA’s A&M Studios (now Henson Recording Studios) on North La Brea Avenue.

Barring an awards ceremony, there hadn’t been such a gathering of musical talent and celebrity in one place, for one cause. And there hasn’t been one since.

The goal was to create a song that would inspire the world to help a starving population of people in Africa.

‘We are the World’ was one of the few songs that has sold more than 10 million copies. It raised more than $64 million to help starving kids in Africa.

Eric J. Lawrence is KCRW’s Music Librarian and shares with us some of the history of the song, and how big a deal it really was.